Museum Security Essentials

Museum Security

If there is one security application that requires a unique approach, it’s museum security. New York museums are world-renowned, making them potential security targets all year round. With that in mind, here are some considerations for those tasked with managing museum security.

Pay attention to current events.

In recent years, international terror attacks have prompted high profile museums to temporary close their doors in order to protect their assets (including guests). For instance, the famed Louvre in Paris closed for several days before reopening with enhanced security measures after the terror attack on the city in 2015. Metro area museums should follow suit if their cities are ever targeted.

Likewise, terror attacks at museum sites have taken place, examples include the Brussels Jewish Museum in 2014 and Tunisia’s Bardo Museum in 2015; therefore, it’s important for museum management to understand that their own sites, as important cultural symbols, can also become targets.

Start with the live force.

Major museums are normally staffed with a live security force, and smaller museums should certainly consider doing the same. No matter the size or scope of the museum, security starts with the live guards on the ground. They should be trained for the special security risks of museums: exhibit vandalism, asset theft, crowd capacity breaches, etc. The staff should also be trained to deal with difficult, “red flag” guests. The liabilities are abundant, so start with thorough training of the security staff that occupies the floor every day.

Conduct frequent risk assessments.

Speaking of the Louvre: Perhaps its most famous asset, the Mona Lisa, has survived theft, an acid attack, a rock attack, and hot liquid damage. If these breaches can happen at one of the world’s most tightly secured museums, they can happen at any exhibition destination. For managers who aim to improve museum security, assess the risks of each artifact and divide these assets into security groups, from high- to low-risk. Then, security can be scaled for each area according to category.

What security measures should be in place for each exhibit, no matter their risk level? Consider starting here:

  • Live security staff
  • Metal detection
  • CCTV video surveillance
  • Motion detection near high value exhibits
  • Glass break detection around all exhibits
  • Visitor management systems to monitor afterhours workers

Additional measures can be taken where necessary; to discuss these and other suggestions for museum security, New York museum administrators can contact POM Technologies for a complimentary evaluation of the property.

About POM Technologies

Peace Of Mind Technologies has delivered site-specific, cost-effective security solutions to facilities throughout the greater New York Metro area since 2002. We aren’t your average security company, with a wide range of equipment and services for building security. Contact us at (212) 688-2767 or to request a free security analysis, or reach out via the contact form below.