Security Tips for Chicago Museums

Image of People in Public Modern Museum

In the Chicago area, there are plenty of museums, including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago History Museum, The Field Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Science & Industry and The Smart Museum of Art, to name a few. These buildings house very valuable, often “one-of-a-kind” pieces that need to be both cherished and protected.

Museum security is vitally important because museums contain pieces that thieves would love to steal. What are some museum security tips?

Well, for starters, it’s all about building access, isn’t it? All it takes is an open door that shouldn’t be unlocked (and open) for a thief to find their way into a part of a museum where they could literally walk out with some very high-end pieces never to be seen again. So, it’s important for museums to limit access to their building (from the outside) as well as control who goes where and when once within the building(s). For instance, senior management should have access to storage areas but casual visitors should not, right? Someone should be monitoring the various rooms and spaces within a museum to check and see if everything is as intended, or if people are in places where they should not be. Instead of using names to grant access to certain rooms, perhaps consider identifying people with unique numbers to help beef up security measures.

A lot of museums have both staff members and volunteers coming and going each day. A professional background check should be done on staffers and volunteers before they join the organization in order to weed out any dishonest thieves. Furthermore, train staffers to recognize unusual behavior and be prepared to intervene, if necessary, or call for security guards or police to take care of problems.

Museums should create a list of the items they have in their possession and document each of those items. Take photos of items. Write down their exact placement locations. Check this information every couple weeks and make updates as needed. You don’t know if you’ve got something missing if you’re not keeping track of stuff.

Obviously, lock up things that are valuable. Only give keys or access codes to the people who should have them.

If your museum could benefit from security officers doing regular patrols, hire security officers. They help with crowd control, give people directions on where to go to find things like the bathroom and they watch for any unusual activity at a museum.

Need to hire security officers for your museum? Call LawDog Security of Chicago at 773-233-5742 for more information.

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