Each month IFCPP chooses a member that exemplifies what being an outstanding cultural property security professional is all about. From these excellent candidates we will choose our annual IFCPP Security Professional of the Year Award recipient. See past Featured Members here.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a long way from Palm Springs, California. But when Shawn Brophy had the opportunity to do what he loves on the East Coast amid the green, rolling hills of the Piedmont Triad, he jumped at the chance. Brophy was named Director of Security at Reynolda House Museum of American Art in July 2018 and has quickly made a positive impact on the institution in his first six months - but you won’t hear that from him. Brophy’s path to Reynolda is filled with honors, rescues, and partnerships, but what he likes to talk about is his team.
“I am most proud when I see all of the training we do as a team pay off,” Brophy says. “When my colleagues respond to an unusual or emergency situation and are able to mitigate it based on how we trained, or go the extra mile to make sure our guests are happy and safe, those are the moments I find most fulfilling.”
With a background as an emergency medical technician and fire warden, training is an area where Brophy excels. He is an Indirect Training Instructor for the Center for Domestic Preparedness, a CPR/First Aid Instructor, and an Advanced Bleeding Control Instructor. He is also certified with CIPS, CISS, CIPM, & CIPM II from the International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, and holds the Crime Prevention Designation (CPD) with the National Institute for Crime Prevention. He served as the IFCPP South West Chapter President for two years, and in 2013, spoke at the IFCPP Conference on Terrorism Preparedness at Cultural Properties.
“Security teams at cultural properties are tasked with protecting parts of history so they are preserved for future generations to enjoy and connect with. Many of the things we protect are irreplaceable. I have always found it rewarding to be tasked with protecting such things.”
At Reynolda, Brophy has initiated several projects to upgrade and enhance the security infrastructure. As a 100-year-old historic house listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Reynolda House features a renowned collection of American art on view in the restored interiors of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds’s country home, just a few miles from downtown Winston-Salem. The museum also features a modern addition added in 2005 that includes education studios, auditorium, offices, storage, and a 3,000 square-foot exhibition gallery.
Brophy has prioritized upgrading surveillance capabilities, updating and modernizing the museum’s key control systems, and adding additional access control measures to keep the museum’s patrons, staff, and collection safe. As a new member of a tight-knit community, Brophy has also developed partnerships to update, modernize, and streamline Reynolda’s emergency response plans and procedures with the Winston-Salem Fire Department, Forsyth County Emergency Services, Wake Forest University Police, and Wake Forest University Emergency Management. He’ll soon be leading efforts to enhance the level of training offered to the museum’s Protection Officers and Senior Protection Officers, all in support of his belief in the importance of cultural properties.
“I really enjoy being a part of a team that genuinely cares about the historic house and our collection, not just because it is their job, but because Reynolda means something to them,” he says. “It continues to amaze me when I meet people in the community and tell them where I work, people always know where I am talking about, and most have a great memory of Reynolda. I am really proud of what we do at Reynolda, both in the security department and as an organization as a whole.”
Brophy spends his time outside of work with his wife of 15 years, Stephanie, their two children, and one fur-child. He volunteers with his daughter’s Girl Scout Council and has become an avid fan of the Carolina Thunderbirds, Winston-Salem’s minor league hockey team.