guardNOW security officers recognize the need for professional uniformed individuals stationed at an art gallery, museum, or exhibit to protect priceless works of art. The security guard’s clear visibility to the public can daunt those with any intentions of carrying out improper or harmful actions.
The visiting public will undoubtedly view the officer’s presence, sending a clear message that the area is safe and protected. guardNOW security guards will assure off limit areas are not intruded and assure the safety and protection of the client assets in any and all situations.
Museum security is a kind of art form unto itself. A way to all at once create safety and accessibility. To bring us as close as possible to inspiration while preventing miscreants from stealing it.
The art of museum security is no less profound than some of the masterpieces hanging in the space that needs protecting. It makes sense out of a paradox. To make works of art difficult to steal or damage-while at the same time allowing a connection between the masterpiece and the beholder-requires generous amounts of planning, some cool technology and a little ingenuity.
How can a security guard protect your art gallery, museum or exhibit?
Small and wireless, vibration sensors placed behind a painting can detect the lightest fingertap. Multiple sensors can be customized—one as a backup, another to detect if someone tries to access the painting through the wall. A tripped alarm signals the control room (or a cell phone or pager), describes the problem, and can provide a map of the site and an electronic photo of the piece of art.
To hang a piece of art, eye hooks on the back of the frame attach to “L” hooks on the museum wall. At the bottom center of the painting, a metal boiler plate screws into both the frame and the wall. You’d have to work pretty hard to wrench the painting away. On the West Coast, where earthquakes can torque paintings affixed in such a way, museums use interlocking connections that offer some give.
Many priceless works have inventory numbers written on the canvas back and recorded in a registrar’s catalog. The catalogs keep data about a canvas’s thread count, highly magnified photographs of a painting’s details and other proof of authenticity.
Glazing protects some paintings and is commonly used with objets d’art shown on pedestals. But it is used judiciously since artists and scholars prefer as little interference as possible when viewing the art.
Motion-detection devices beamed directly over the painting sound a chirping alarm (like a smoke detector) to startle the too-close observer and alert security.
Around the edge of the room, a low rail or change in floor texture or height creates a border to keep people from getting too close to the artwork.
Environmental sensors for fire, temperature changes and other hazards can be used to complement theft-deterrent sensors. These devices are even more common for items on pedestals, but are used for paintings as well.
Fire alarms, sprinklers and temperature controls are mandated controls in any exhibit space. Fire alarms, however, cannot seal off rooms, à la “The Thomas Crown Affair”.
Security guards are on alert during gray hours and are also a constant presence in the museum at all other hours. They must patrol briskly and “pay as much attention to fire exits as they do the art itself”.They also communicate with the security control center, which dispatches staff to suspicious situations. Along with uniformed guards, a plainclothes supervisor would be appointed to see that the security staff is managing the crisis properly.
Saturation motion detection is the most important technology used in any given exhibit space. Instead of focusing motion detection only on entrances and egresses, such as doors and air ducts, it’s most practical to simply flood the room with motion detection. That creates very few “dead spots” for potential thieves to avoid sensors and helps deter “stay behinds”: skulkers who come into the room with a group but remain when others leave.
Verify that alarm windows are fastened and closed whenever possible, with break sensors on the glass, especially lower-level windows. As with CCTV, glass-break sensors are secondary to motion detection but still play a critical role, “not because it tells us a window was broken, but because it’s independent of the security system during ‘gray hours’”: those after-close periods when a large staff is hanging a new exhibit. At such times, sectors of the building will have their security systems turned off.
Closed-circuit TV cameras add another security layer beyond motion detection. However, if funds are limited, cameras should go first at entry points, then in the galleries. The more precious the art, the more to mix vendors and architectures. Anti-integration makes things difficult for the bad guys; it means they will have to break two systems instead of one.
List of security guard duties at art galleries, & museums: