SECURITY For Museums

| September/October 1985

This is the second in a series on museum management

Museum security covers a multitude of subjects, and when one is overlooked it can cause a lot of grief. Some museums have found that their trust is often violated, and damaging losses result.

We have talked to museum people who learned the hard way. Sad to say, it is often true that what is not under lock and key, or so fastened down that it cannot be moved, or not watched when crowds are present, will 'walk away'.

But that is not all which can be filed under the heading of security. It includes record-keeping, and seeing that those records are in safe places and not easily removed; holding down the number of keys for important locks; and crowd control whether it be while moving through the museum or outdoors where engines are in motion.

Paula Schwartz, curator-director of the Delaware Agricultural Museum (at Dover, Del.), says security is the institution's biggest problem. The museum is only five years old, and its exhibits of engines are in the early stages, with most on loan.

'We keep telling people not to touch the engines,' she says. 'We have to see that they do not take anything off the gas engines, and we have to keep them off the big steam engines.'