Collections Link

Wednesday, May 28th

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Security and Collections

Collections are at the heart of the services provided by museums and galleries. Museums and galleries exist primarily to enable people to use and enjoy collections, and it is that primary purpose which places our collections at risk. By the act of making our collections open for use by the public we are also placing the collections in a situation where they may be lost or damaged through theft, fire or flood.

All of the decisions you make about the security control measures associated with your collections will be made in the context of your museum's mission and policies, and a full audit of your circumstances. The Museum Security Toolkit will help you to audit your current circumstances regarding protecting your collections from theft, fire and flood, and to use a four step risk management approach to manage threats and choose appropriate control measures. Understanding possible security threats in the context of your own knowledge about your collections and museum environment will enable you to manage risks, and plan and implement security measures. Understanding security threats also lays the groundwork for appropriate emergency planning should a threat actually occur.

Threats to Collections

Understanding why collections may be at risk is an important step towards protecting them from theft, fire and flood.

Detailed Guidance on Collections Security Issues

Collections are contained within some sort of physical space, whether it is a building, a perimeter enclosure, a store-room or a display case. Those physical spaces and constructions are the first line of defence against security threats, as they provide the physical means by which you can deter, delay and defeat the intruder, or help to avoid fire and flood. The following resources will help you to make decisions about how you use buildings, cases and secured areas to protect your collections.

The following resources will assist in the planning and implementation of appropriate security measures:

For more information about managing security in wider physical spaces such as buildings and perimeters see Security and Buildings