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AC Hosts Live Expert Panel on The Art of Pandemic Museum and Site Security

June 17, 2020

On June 17, the AC gathered world-renowned experts to appraise the threats to museum collections during the COVID-19 pandemic and explore cutting-edge strategy and solutions in a free live webinar. 

Speakers included Dennis Ahern (Director of Security UK, Christie’s Auction House) Vernon Rapley (Director of Cultural Heritage Protection and Security, Victoria and Albert Museum) and 

Dr. Donna Yates (Archaeologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Maastricht University). The discussion was moderated by AC Executive Director Tess Davis, who covered topics including how the pandemic is affecting museum and site security, opportunities created for both thieves and security professionals, and different approaches institutions might take now and in the future to protect their collections. 

Key Takeaways Include: 

  • Empty sites and museums pose challenges and opportunities for security: While a larger crowd poses more risk to objects and can be harder to police, a thief taking an object stands out in a small group. 
  • New metal detector enthusiasts should beware: Seemingly an appropriate outdoor hobby to partake in during lockdowns, resources for metal detecting can be scarce and participants can end up looting objects or harming sites.
  • Impacts will be felt into the future: As museums and sites face budget cuts and dwindling resources, threats will remain even past the pandemic. 

Watch the expert panel here.