Cost-effective museum protection is one of the top concerns for the operations staff. That includes guarding against theft and damage by ensuring an effective security plan is in place to protect the collection. Without an effective plan, you could be jeopardizing the artwork and historical pieces in your gallery or museum.
Challenges In Museum Protection
In cultural properties, the current museum protection model consists of two main components: the guards in the galleries and other security technologies which includes a video surveillance system. In most cases, the video security system records footage, which can later be accessed if an issue occurs. In some cases, the camera images are monitored in real-time by an officer in a command center to heighten museum protection.
This protection model is widespread, but offers many challenges to today’s museums - specifically around its overall cost and effectiveness.
Guard cost containment is a critical issue in today's environment, and the full cost of your security team goes far beyond the cost of their compensation. First, the recruiting and training costs of new guards are significant.
Next are the obvious costs associated with compensation as well as benefits, such as workers compensation, vacation, sick pay, and other benefits provided by the institution.
Additionally, there are some “hidden” costs that many people do not think about. For example, there is insurance, uniforms, and other general overhead expenses. These are required to support a successful guard team and can end up costing much more than you may even realize.
Finally, there are costs that go above the “base” cost for security guards. Many times, overtime is required to cover vacations or sick time. In some cases, overtime may be required to support increased hours because of special exhibits or functions.
Security guards are costly, and in the current market environment effectively managing this expense is a top priority for museums.
When we talk about the effectiveness of guards protecting the museum collection pieces, we must start with the density of the guards in the galleries. Most museums do not have unlimited budgets and cannot afford the one or two guards per gallery that would be required to give optimal protection.
Another issue which limits the effectiveness of guards is a human limitation. Guards cannot watch all objects or multiple monitors simultaneously. As is only human, they are prone to distractions. This creates an opportunity for damage or theft of the collection.
Many forward-looking museums utilize the Art Sentry system to supplement their guard force while increasing their effectiveness and managing costs. The security system from Art Sentry provides camera-based object protection. It works by drawing an invisible protection zone around valuable paintings and artifacts. When that zone is broken by a visitor both the visitor and guards are alerted.
Effectiveness of Art Sentry
In terms of effectiveness, our implementations have shown that there are 75X more touches of your collection pieces than what guards are reporting alone. The Art Sentry system can eliminate 92% of those object touches and customers have experienced a 60% reduction in serious damage incidents due to our museum protection solution.
The system does not get distracted, take coffee breaks, or call in sick. It does not have trouble getting to work due to a snowstorm or during other challenging times. It protects every collection piece 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. During the off-hours with minimal or no guards in the galleries, your collection is most at-risk but you can rest-assured that protection is in place during even these vulnerable times.
Cost of the System
Depending on the situation, the paybacks on the investment can be as short as 1.3 years. The cost of the system is driven by the number of galleries and the camera coverage needed.
In many cases, existing cameras and wiring infrastructure can be utilized to minimize cost. Art Sentry has two pricing models. One is an upfront cost with a low annual support and maintenance cost. The other is a subscription model which reduces the upfront cost to allow the expense of the system to be matched with the benefits and cost savings over time.
Technology can be used strategically by forward-thinking museums to supplement your guard force. Additionally, these motion detection security systems can offer better museum protection of the collection and flexibility to handle unforeseen situations that impact guard availability.
Beyond the benefits of protecting the museum collection, the Art Sentry system has been proven to provide other important benefits. It has shown to increase visitor experience scores and provide objective data and analytics, which drive improvement in museums operations.
Art Sentry’s camera-based motion detection alarm system provides the reliability and peace of mind that your collection is being protected around the clock.
Schedule a Demo now to learn more about what our museum protection technology can offer your institution.