The Latest

Live Expert Panel: The Art of Pandemic Museum and Site Security

June 9, 2020

One early morning this March, thieves snatched Van Gogh’s “Spring Garden” from a Dutch museum. They used two tools to break in and grab the valuable work: a sledgehammer and the COVID-19 outbreak that closed the museum just weeks before. The crime illustrates a new danger to cultural heritage around the world amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Most museums and other cultural sites are now operating on skeleton crews. At the same time, the virus has taken the lives of security staff, while law enforcement around the world has understandably shifted to health-related priorities. From the lockdown’s earliest days, experts warned that art crime would rise with the pandemic. Now, looting and thefts may be underreported due to lack of staff. How can cultural institutions safeguard their collections — and archaeological sites do the same for pieces yet to be uncovered — during an unprecedented public health and economic crisis?

International experts will appraise the threat and explore cutting-edge strategy in our free webinar “The Art of Pandemic Museum and Site Security.” Leaders in the field will share their experience and insight in this live collection security deep-dive.

Speakers include:

Dennis Ahern

Director of Security UK, Christie’s Auction House


Vernon Rapley

Director of Cultural Heritage Protection and Security, Victoria and Albert Museum

Image credit: Singer Laren Museum via NBC News

Dr. Donna Yates

Archaeologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Maastricht University


Deborah Lehr, Founder and Chair of the Antiquities Coalition, will moderate the discussion.

Join us Wednesday, June 17, at 11 AM EDT for “The Art of Pandemic Museum and Site Security” as top professionals explore the COVID-19 security threat to cultural institutions and how we might thwart it.

Register Now