Recently, there have been several disturbing events occurring within museums and art galleries. Activists have attempted to draw attention to specific social/political causes by arriving, glue in hand, and proceeding to secure themselves to priceless masterpieces. Using high-profile historical objects and venues to create awareness for a political cause is nothing new. Protesters have long staged events at national landmarks to raise awareness for social justice and other causes. However, physically attaching themselves via superglue to artwork is a dramatic escalation of standard protests and this weaponization of the artwork requires an immediate response.
Protecting a museum’s collection from theft and damage is a tall task. Effective protection strategies typically utilize various technologies to assist a well-trained security presence at the floor level. When the right technology is deployed properly, security officers can have greater visibility, be more aware of their surroundings, and respond to potential threats immediately.
The Director of Protection Services at a prominent New England Art Museum often shares an example of how technology is successfully utilized within the museum to assist security officers to be more aware of threats. The Art Sentry system has been deployed to protect the collection, giving the security team the ability to be much more observant of visitor activity. In one case, a security officer noticed an unusual interaction between two guests. When the officer casually asked the female guest if she was ok, she informed the officer that she felt threatened by her new acquaintance. The security officer was able to intervene because the technology deployed to watch the art gave them the time to be more observant of the entire environment.
The same may be true of the recent protests. In each case, the activist must sneak the glue and signs into the museum. They then must remove the glue and prepare to fasten themselves to the chosen artwork. Technology like Art Sentry can give your security team an extra advantage and precious time that can help them identify potential threats before they have time to develop fully.
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