Securing museum objects – Tribune Online

A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing. For the purpose of elongation and preservation of objects for the present and future generations, adequate security measures are put in place by the museums.

The first security measure in securing objects in museum is the building which starts from the building plan. There must be clear visibility to deter theft of the objects. The storage must not be shielded by other structures in the museum. The gallery must not be put in a hidden or inaccessible location though the objects exhibited must be protected by show-cases and guides.

Curatorial security is the documentation of all objects in the museum. Movements of the objects must be adequately recorded. This also includes labeling of the objects and photography. These make it easier to trace the objects. There must be sincere cooperation among museum managers, security personnel and the police.

Physical guards are essential while electric and mechanical devices can then supplement the efforts of the personnel. Constant training and orientation should be given to museum guards by security forces: the police, NSCDC and the DSS.  Modern security devices such as andro-detector, closed circuit television(CCTV), strong doors, alarms through micro-switches, photo-electric eyes and adequate lighting system in the night should be used. More so, motion detector, vibrator detector, fire alarm are all useful for the guards and security staff.

The community where the museum is located must be ready to assist in securing the museum and the objects. There should be involvement of the community. They should know the essence and importance of the objects kept in their domain. If there’s any suspicion on the movement of objects by thieves or burglars, the community should alert the security agents. The customs and immigration officials should all know antiquities to checkmate stealing and carting of objects. All hands must be on deck to give adequate protection to the museum and its objects.

Mrs Eluyemi Adeola Anike, National Museum of Unity, Ibadan

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