September 8, 2015

Museum and Art Gallery Security - Securing Priceless and Irreplaceable Works of Art

Museum security is a creative art form in and of itself. Security, safety and accessibility are all taken into account when protecting irreplaceable works of art. When multi-million dollar works of art are on display, executives and board of directors encourage as many people as possible to enjoy the art while ensuring it is protected. Their desire is to encourage the public to come within touching distance of the artwork while having security measures in place for the artwork against vandals, thieves or the inquisitive 5th grader.

Not only are museums concerned with the public they are also concerned with employees, contractors and even terrorists, these days. According to FBI statistics, between 70 and 80 percent of all solved theft cases involve insider participation of some kind. When creating a security plan it is important not to overlook employee or contractor involvement.

The common overall strategy is to create a balance in the individualized security plan. The plan should include security staff, access policies, and the use of electronic security systems and video surveillance.

The first step would be to create a hierarchy of security measures to put in place which would involve securing the premises with surveillance, scanning and alarms. Creating an in-depth security program starts with monitoring all entrances and exits of the building. It is important to see everyone who enters and exits with a good picture. This would include the general public, employees and delivery people. Placing cameras and alarms at each entrance with video monitoring would allow security to watch all entrances. Service entrances should have alarms, video and intercom for remote access, allowing individuals to be buzzed in from the control room.

We would then secure all windows. Each window should be armed with an alarm contact. There should also be a combination of Security Glass Laminates on the windows with glass break sensors for each window. Using Security Glass Laminates would deter easy access by smashing a window. These laminates will hold the smashed glass together, and some are bullet-resistant to NIJ standard level 3A. Glass break sensors would alarm when the sound of the breaking glass is sensed. Motion detectors can be off when changing a display, moving a piece of art or when the cleaning crew is in the building, yet there is still protection around the perimeter of the building by using a combination of laminates and glass breaks.

The next step in the security plan should include the staff. Implementing access control with a hierarchy of security clearance associated with each employee, and of course performing background checks on all employees is a must.

Motion detectors can be placed over each work of art, when triggered it can chirp to startle the observer who is too close.

Using IP cameras with automatic triggers and DVR’s would be the next layer of security. Using this combination would give a clear recording of an event, whether the event is theft, vandalism, employee conduct or an accident.

Environmental sensors should be used for hi/low temperature changes, water detection, carbon monoxide, and AC power loss.

When we are called in to help with security, we consider site lines, display methods and the value of the art. We create a system with alarms, cameras, card readers and a full security management system. We can help with the challenge of keeping artwork safe yet allowing visitors to come within an arm’s length. We are here to help you and remember we are your ‘One Source’ for peace of mind.

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