International Foundation
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Protecting Collections



IFCPP sets the standards for best practices in the protection of all types of cultural collections, on exhibit, in storage, and in transit.


Strategies and philosophies for the protection of valuable collections incorporate a host of complimentary components.

The following elements should be considered when developing sound strategies for a comprehensive protection program:

Fire

is still the primary threat to collections. Fire protection starts with a viable prevention program. In addition to the emphasis we placed on patrols and electronic systems in all publications, the institution needs to think about those daily violations of documented fire codes, as well as common sense fire prevention tools.

Other primary threats

to valuable collections include natural disasters, theft, terrorism and both unintentional and intentional damage. All of these eventualities need to be addressed in your emergency operations plan.

Theft prevention

doesn’t happen by accident. As verified in numerous surveys, internal theft, or internally related theft is responsible for over 90% of losses from valuable collections. That means that anyone, from Trustees, to Directors, to Security Managers…Curators…anyone…may be involved in theft. The rules must apply to everyone. Background screening must be consistent and professional. Pre-employment screening should be mandated. Post employment criminal history checks may also be helpful. Just because someone has worked for the institution for years doesn’t mean that haven’t run afoul of the law outside of the job. You have a right, if not a definite need to know.

Protection of collections begins at the outermost perimeter. A combination of security patrols, police patrols, enhanced lighting, intrusion detection, video surveillance, package inspection, and supervised egress points are all necessary.

Utilize reasonable rules of conduct

to protect collections from intentional and unintentional damage. These rules must be published, and available for viewing by patrons, and/or posted in a conspicuous manner.

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