Museum Security Services WARRINGTON, MANCHESTER, LIVERPOOL, NORTH WEST ENGLAND. Museum management and staff have a duty to protect the collection from loss by theft or damage. Museum equipment and premises also need protection. However, museum security is often overlooked. The security of the collection should be a high priority, and planning to protect it will pay off in the long term. Physical security as well as procedures and controls should be implemented.
Building and facilities
A number of controls can minimise a building’s susceptibility to burglary.
- One point of entry and exit for visitors, which is easily monitored by staff
- Well-secured windows and doors.
- No skylights
- A monitored alarm system for after-hours security, if possible
- Good visibility of the building from the road
- Site fencing to discourage after-hours access
- Lockable and secure collection areas
- Lockable and secure showcases. Objects should not be on open display, unless they are large. Have some kind of barrier or cordon in place to protect these items.
- Local alarms such as under-mat pressure alarms and continuous beam alarms can be used during opening hours.
- Good visibility of exhibition spaces to ensure good visibility i.e. don’t have corners or ‘hidden’ areas where visitors can’t be seen or see each other.
- Security cameras, if possible, primarily in object display areas to act as a visible deterrent.
Procedures and controls
Security procedures and training will ensure that staff are vigilant against the threat of theft or damage.
- Collection storage areas should be locked at all times. Access should be limited to only those that are authorised. Visitors to storage areas should always be supervised.
- Have key control procedures in place for access to storage areas, and building access.
- Avoid keeping money on the premises at night.
- Train museum attendants/guides in surveillance and security procedures. They should monitor room contents and conditions as well as visitors.
- Train staff to be highly visible to visitors if the museum is small and does not have attendants or security personnel.
- Train staff to deal with inappropriate behaviour in a diplomatic but firm manner. For example, when the reasons for not handling or touching an object are explained, or why food and drink is not allowed in a museum, most people understand and then comply with the rules.
- Repair any visible damage to displays or premises or remove damaged things if possible. This not only deters ‘copy-cat’ behaviour, but demonstrates the museum’s care for premises and property.
- Ensure that all staff, paid or unpaid, are familiar with security procedures, and adhere to them.
- Combat theft by having a well-documented collection, with photographs of objects. If an item is stolen, police can use this information to help with identification.
Posted by Grace Mullins. Posted In : Museum Security