International Foundation
for Cultural Property Protection

  • February 14, 2017 12:09 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    A gallery that has used Art Guard sensors for several years contacted me regarding a trove of works on loan for a show. The value of these pieces exceeded anything they had exhibited before by tens of millions of dollars.

    Their question concerned whether it was advisable to mix methods of security protection and whether tethering paintings to walls was worthwhile.

    “Of course, do whatever you need to do to feel secure,” was my reply.

    As you may know, tethering a painting to a wall with wire, in and of itself, will not prevent a theft. Like several other rudimentary methods, it offers resistance; that resistance -- and the resulting delay in execution -- may be enough to save the paintings from being pilfered.

    Some gallery professionals will react to that tactic by saying, “Why bother?”

    As recently as 2010, many galleries put marbles behind the frames of paintings to signal an attempt to move them. Some would say, “Incredible.”

    I say, “Why not?”

    The thief on trial for the theft of five masterpieces from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 2010 characterized the job as dizzyingly easy. No guards, faulty security system, unlocked window grills. Had any of those been operational, it might have given him pause before executing his plan.  

    The point is that so many professionals and collectors in galleries, museums, homes and other places that showcase art probably agonize over spending money to secure art. Or they don’t even consider security. Then the unthinkable happens.

    The message here is do something, rather than nothing, for your own peace of mind.

    There’s always a reason and a way to protect art and assets, compatible with your current security measures. Let’s discuss your options and your budget. Contact us at 212-989-1594 and

    Best Regards,
    Bill Anderson

  • February 02, 2017 6:00 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    As America's opiate problem explodes, the nation's fire service finds itself on the front lines of a full-fledged public health crisis. As responders' resources are stretched and as opioid-related deaths climb, fire officials are faced with tough challenges: How much should the fire service be expected to do? And is there a better way to do it?


    The 911 dispatcher’s updates blaring through the truck cabin grew increasingly darker as Daniel Goonan raced to the scene of a drug overdose last October—a desperate little boy; an unconscious mother dying on the kitchen floor; opiate use was suspected.

    “You could hear the situation building over the radio—the operator talking to this nine-year-old, telling him how to do CPR on his mother,” Goonan, the fire chief in Manchester, New Hampshire, recalled. “This was a kid who was getting ready to go to school, eating his Cheerios, and all of a sudden he looks over to see his mother lying there purple.”

    When Goonan and his team arrived, they administered naloxone hydrochloride, an opiate reversal medication that can almost immediately counteract the deadly effects of an opioid overdose—but after the first dose the woman remained motionless. After a second dose, her breathing finally returned, all while “the little boy is sitting there at the table,” Goonan said somberly.

    For the Manchester Fire Department and for thousands of others in this opiate-riddled New England city of about 110,000, the scene has become common. Through the first 11 months of 2016, Manchester had 721 opiate overdoses—an average of more than two per day—and 88 opiate overdose deaths. The fire department and local ambulance services have administered nearly 1,000 doses of Narcan, the brand name for naloxone. More than 100 overdose victims have been found unconscious, barely breathing, and dying in hotels, restaurants, and other public buildings, or in parked cars—even while driving. At least 65 people have been brought back from the brink of fatal overdoses more than once in 2016, including eight cases where first responders revived the same person twice within 24 hours.

    Goonan, a 32-year department veteran, grew up in Manchester, a brick-clad former mill city on the banks of the Merrimack River, and admits that drugs have always been prevalent here. “But I’ve never seen the problem so terrible,” he told me. “It’s like nothing I ever expected.”

    The rise of opiate abuse is hardly unique to Manchester. Opiates in the form of prescription pills, heroin, and increasingly powerful synthetics like fentanyl have indiscriminately swept across the United States like a plague, infecting all types of communities—from rural hamlets in Appalachia and the rust belt to the nation’s largest cities—with equal ferocity. In 2015, the most recent year tracked by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more that 52,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses, or about 144 each day, with the majority of those deaths opioid-related. Nationwide, fatal opioid overdoses increased 652 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to CDC statistics, and every indication is that the problem has grown worse in 2016. Many states have all but declared full-fledged public health emergencies.

    The fire service is dealing with several challenges as the opioid crisis explodes. For one, call volume has risen with overdoses, leaving departments to bear a slightly heavier load, typically with the same or fewer resources. In addition, some departments have felt an economic toll as naloxone prices skyrocketed—from $6 per dose to $45 per dose since 2010, according to one chief interviewed for this story—as demand for the drug increases. To carry the slack, in some cases state and federal governments have provided funding to departments to purchase the medication, while in some communities private organizations have donated hundreds of doses of the life-saving drug.

    For the typical line firefighter, the biggest change has perhaps been adjusting to an expanded role as the opiate crisis worsens. Previously, only paramedics or higher-level EMTs were allowed to administer drugs in most states; over the last couple of years, however, numerous jurisdictions have rushed to expand the types of responders allowed to carry and administer naloxone. Training and oversight have been ramped up as a result, and for the most part states and agencies have met the challenge to get members adequately trained before supplying them with the drug, said Thomas Breyer, a former firefighter and paramedic in Ohio who is now the director of Fire/EMS Operations at the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

    “Training is critical because this is a change for a lot of providers, and when you administer any kind of emergency services you want the responder to have some muscle memory—see it, do it,” Breyer said. “It’s not as simple as ‘here is a new medication, here’s how to deliver it,’ and then give them a pat on the back and let them go.”

    Even with training and preparation, the crisis can at times overwhelm responders. Last August in Huntington, West Virginia, emergency responders saved 26 overdose victims in the span of less than four hours. In Marion, Ohio, a town of 35,000 people, the city fire and rescue department dealt with 30 overdose hospitalizations and two deaths during a frantic 12-day stretch in 2015.

    “I hate to see Marion making the news because of this, but we need some help,” said Rob Cowell, the town’s fire chief. “We’ve picked up overdoses from people who were 14 years old all the way up to 67. It’s been all over town, across every socioeconomic class. It’s a national problem that we are trying to deal with on the local level, and we are swimming in it and having a hard time keeping our heads above water.”


    In some places, it’s easy to see why fire departments might feel like they’re sinking. In Ohio, opiate-related drug overdose deaths increased a staggering 775 percent from 2003 to 2015, according to the Ohio Department of Health, growing from 296 deaths to 2,590. Massachusetts had 1,747 opioid drug deaths in 2015, up from 532 in 2010, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health. Similarly dramatic increases have occurred in New Hampshire, New Mexico, Alabama, West Virginia, Maine, North Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and elsewhere.

    The opioid crisis and the changes it has brought for the fire service have produced frustration in some responders. Last February, a firefighter in Weymouth, Massachusetts, was suspended 90 days without pay for a Facebook post that suggested letting overdose victims die. “I for one get no extra money for giving Narcan and these losers are out of the hospital and using again in hours,” the post said. “You use, you should lose!” The department quickly issued a statement denouncing the post and said it did not reflect its philosophy or values.

    The vast majority of firefighters and EMTs, however, have met the new challenge with resolve, viewing it as a necessary response to a community crisis. “We are an all-hazard department and so it really doesn’t matter what the problem is—if lives are on the line, we believe there is a social and civic responsibility to address it,” said Matthew Levy, the medical director of Howard County Fire Rescue, a county in Maryland located between Baltimore and Washington D.C. “Whether it is an evolving threat like terrorism or an infectious disease like Ebola, when the community calls on the fire service, we have that responsibility to respond. Saying it is not our problem is not the answer or a long-term solution.”

    While difficult hurdles remain for some fire departments, most have adjusted and have handled the increased cost, training, and call volume resulting from the drug crisis, Breyer and others told me. It’s the personal toll that has been the hardest for some responders to overcome. Bringing a person back from the brink of death, only to find them blue and unconscious from another overdose a week later, is sometimes difficult to bear, they said. That’s the dark reality of the opiate epidemic that responders see every day.

    “It causes first responders to say, ‘there has got to be a better way,’” Breyer said. “If I make the same run on the same guy week after week, we’re not solving any problem, we’re just making sure the same person doesn’t die. But we’re not helping these people all the way—this person needs treatment.”

    The mounting desperation in communities has led many fire departments to think differently about the crisis and to assume a larger role in finding solutions. “It’s to the point here where folks begin to realize that this is not just a problem that someone else’s family has to deal with—we’ve had very tragic overdoses in this county, including family members, friends, and close relations of personnel at the fire department,” Levy told me. “When you look at the sheer numbers and impact on the community and put it in that perspective, you start to realize that we need to begin to craft more out-of-the-box strategies.”

    One of the more innovative strategies is Manchester’s Safe Stations program. Beginning last May, drug addicts seeking help were invited to visit any of the Manchester Fire Department’s 10 fire stations—24 hours per day, seven days a week—to begin their road to recovery. The program works in partnership with a recovery center called Serenity Place, which is located adjacent to the central fire station downtown.

    Chris Hickey, Manchester’s director of emergency services, got the idea for Safe Stations last spring when a relative of a Manchester firefighter showed up at a station looking for help. He was homeless, addicted, and desperate. “When he started talking to us it was apparent he was serious about getting help, but he said there was nowhere for him to go—he had made calls and went to a few websites, but nothing was happening,” said Hickey, a longtime EMS provider in the city. “I was doing some work at a local recovery center at the time. I contacted them and they said just bring him in.”

    The experience gave Hickey an idea: instead of merely treating the symptoms of addiction by rushing around the city bringing addicts back from death, perhaps the fire department could play a larger role by getting addicts into treatment. Hickey took the idea to department leadership, and the program was up and running within weeks. According to Goonan, “We jumped into the program with both feet—our thinking was, ‘let’s stop talking and let’s start doing something.’” When addicts looking for help arrive at a Manchester fire station, they are greeted with a quick physical and mental health assessment. A counselor from Serenity Place is summoned to the station to meet with the patient, who can register on the spot in the center’s outpatient program. On average, a patient sees a licensed drug and alcohol counselor within 12 minutes of entering a fire station.

    “When someone is ready to make a change you have to get them at that moment,” Goonan said. “They are greeted with no judgment, just a handshake and a comfortable place to go. Historically this is what the fire service does—help people.”

    When the department first opened its doors to addicts, nobody knew what to expect. Goonan thought they’d see maybe five to 10 people a month. From May 4 to December 1, though, there have been a total of 821 visits to Manchester fire stations from people looking to get clean, an average of nearly four per day. Patients have ranged in age from 18 to 70, and have come from all over New Hampshire, as well as a substantial number from Maine, Massachusetts, and as far as Alabama. More than 400 patients have been brought into the Serenity Place recovery program through Safe Stations.

    “Some use us as a first option, some as a last,” Hickey said. “A lot of people who come in are broken. They are mentally worn out, physically a mess. Many had made phone calls and got on waiting lists, but nothing happens and they end up frustrated.”


    The proactive rather than reactive approach to the overdose epidemic has also lifted spirits inside firehouses, Hickey told me. At first, some firefighters were wary of the idea, and worried that violence might follow addicts into the stations. But in the nine months the program has been operating there hasn’t been a single incident. Instead, the program “has worked wonders for our department mentally,” Hickey said. “We were getting tired, angry, and frustrated going to dozens of overdoses every month, seeing families ripped apart, doing CPR, watching kids do CPR on their parents because they had overdosed. But these people are coming to us before they overdose, before they are dead, and it has quite unintentionally given everyone a boost.”

    Goonan himself handles many of the intakes, like the 22-year-old woman with two young children suffering from endocarditis who, when asked her drug of choice, replied, “anything I can get my hands on.” Or the 61-year-old house painter who became hooked on pain medication when he hurt his back on the job and two years later was addicted to heroin and crack.

    “He told me ‘I’m desperate for help, I’m going to lose everything I have ever had—my wife, my home, my children,’” Goonan told me. “We see people like him every day. I think the stigma is starting to lift a little bit. People are more willing to come in and admit they have a problem.”

    Manchester Fire Department officials believe the program can work elsewhere and are helping others adopt it, including the nearby city of Nashua, which recently started its own version of Safe Stations, and a fire district in the Bronx that is planning to launch a pilot program this year.

    Community engagement and cooperation from various public and private organizations, ranging from hospitals, safety agencies, health departments, local charities, and church groups, have been key to the program’s success, Hickey said. “We now have open lines of communication with all of these groups, which is a huge advantage,” he said. “I think that is one of the biggest first steps to addressing this issue.”

    That holistic community approach is one others should try to emulate, said Breyer, the fire and EMS director at IAFF. “If we really want to solve the opioid epidemic, fire, EMS, and all these public safety agencies need to be a part of the bigger solution,” he said. “We all need to realize that we can’t operate in silos. We need public health, social services, mental health, fire—we need everyone working together through a network.”

    Many fire departments across the nation are starting to take that approach. Beginning December 1, overdose victims transported to the hospital by fire and rescue in Marion, Ohio, are now met in the emergency room by a drug councilor, a significant shift for the city.

    “It used to be that an overdose was charged with possession [of a controlled substance], but we’re not doing that any more. We’re just trying to get these people help,” Cowell said of the program, which has involved coordination between fire and rescue, police, and a local hospital and counseling center.

    Howard County, Maryland, recently formed a community-wide drug task force with representatives from the fire department, police, health department, corrections, hospitals, and other stakeholders.

    “We all see this problem from different angles, and so I think the most impactful thing we can do is come together to share ideas, observations, and trends,” Levy, the fire department medical director, told me. “We are trying to break down those barriers and begin to create a plan for a comprehensive solution.”

    The group is working to create an interagency data dashboard where the various agencies can view each other’s information with the hopes of uncovering patterns that can lead to better-targeted intervention. They are also discussing policy changes, such as making naloxone nasal spray publically available in strategic places across the county for the public to use in overdose emergencies.

    “This is not a problem that is going away soon—this is not Ebola, or Zika, not something that comes and goes,” Levy said. “This is a problem of epidemic proportions and it is going to be with us for a long, long time.”

    It’s too early to know the impact these initiatives will have, but there’s no doubt it will continue to be an uphill slog. Despite efforts to combat the roots of the problem, initial estimates in Marion, Howard County, and Manchester are that each had a record-high number of opiate overdoses again in 2016. Marion had more overdoses and deaths through the first 11 months of 2016 than it did in all of 2015; Howard County averaged about 22 percent more opiate-related overdoses per month in 2016 than it did the year before; and in Manchester, total opiate overdoses were up about 6 percent through November compared with 2015.

    But there’s hope, too, and signs that Safe Stations is making progress. From August through November, Manchester saw 51 fewer overdoses and five fewer deaths than it did during the same period in 2015. Goonan and Hickey are hopeful that the trend will continue, but they are also realistic about the foe they are up against.

    “We could be trending lower for months, and the next thing you know a new dealer comes in with a new synthetic opiate and we have seven or eight deaths and people start saying it’s not working,” Goonan said. “But in my professional opinion we are certainly saving lives, and every time someone walks through our front doors we are giving them a real shot at recovery.”

  • January 24, 2017 12:19 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    by Stevan P. Layne, CPP, CIPM, CIPI

    Some of our postings are in response to, or soon thereafter, a major tragic event.  I’m going to step out of the box and offer some strongly preferred preventive, defensive measures.   We are (as a country) going to continue to be victimized by a growing number of “lone wolf” attackers, and in all likelihood, small groups of attackers, who may or may not be affiliated with large, more organized entities.   These attacks may occur at any location where the opportunity exists to cause considerable damage, destroy property, and kill or injure Americans.  Every reputable law enforcement agency and the Department of Homeland Security recognize this threat.  Our “soft targets” are everywhere.

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict or prevent an act perpetrated by a lone wolf, and almost as difficult to prevent or predict those acts of small, unaffiliated groups.  Cultural properties present ideal targets.   They are, for the most part, not easily protected from armed assault.   They are hosts to numerous special events and gatherings.  They house valuable assets, in many cases, closely identified with our culture.

    The presence of armed security, even special police, to protect public entries may not do any more than present an immediate target.   Besides, gunfights at our public entries are not really in keeping with the welcoming image preferred by institutions.  There are, however, definite measures which may, in fact, deter attempts at initiating an attack, and may well delay or deny the ability to enter the facilities.

    We must protect our perimeter.  Every conceivable entry point should be controlled in such a manner as to make unauthorized entry too difficult to attempt.  Vehicle approaches, or entries where vehicles may gain access should be prevented from doing so by installing removable or fixed solid bollards or similar barriers.  The objective is to make it impossible to crash through an entryway with a vehicle, especially a vehicle that may be loaded with explosives.

    The entryway itself should be constructed as a Sally Port…a controlled entry with both outer and inner doors and a protected space between the doors.  Video surveillance should be installed to observe approaches to all exterior entries. A Sally Port may be installed to meet size requirements of any institution.  Bullet resistant material should be installed to protect entry area glass and Sally Port walls.   Wireless panic/duress signals should be available to staff working at each entry point.   A facility-wide emergency notification system should be installed to include notification through all electronic devices utilized by staff, volunteers, interns, and long-term contractors.   Entry staff should have the capability of securing each entry with little warning.

    These measures are not inexpensive.  The costs to recover from an armed assault are considerably higher.   The costs to install preventive measures after the fact, are always higher than costs occurred during construction, or when not pressured by recovery efforts after considerable loss.

  • January 11, 2017 6:17 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    by Lynn Ieronimo, CIPM II, CIPI
    Head of Security, Yale University Beinecke Rare Book Library

    We are very excited for the IFCPP’s 2017 conference hosted by Yale University from September 16th – September 20th.  This year’s conference is easily accessible for travelers near and far.  We are 2 hours from Boston and 1 ½ from New York, about an hour from several major airports and directly accessible by Metro-North and Amtrak train service.

    We have a tentative agenda, with a complete agenda coming soon, but here’s what you can expect so far:

    2 days of included pre-conference activities.  A trip to Yankee stadium and seats in the owner’s suite, including food and drinks, on Saturday September 16th and a trip of your choice to either Mystic Seaport and Aquarium (included aquarium admission) or to Mohegan Sun Casino (included food and gambling vouchers) on Sunday September 17th.

    3 nights of included dinners on Monday September 18th – Wednesday September 20th.  Enjoy great local pizza and beer/wine on Monday, a reception and dinner at Yale Cultural Properties sites on Tuesday and a night out to a local restaurant for dinner and open bar on Wednesday.

    3 days of exciting, new keynote speakers.  Each day will start with one of our hand-picked speakers to kick-off the day’s events.  Other speakers currently confirmed for the conference will discuss our Cultural Properties model at the University, Active Shooter planning, Business Continuity planning and a Citizen’s Police Academy.

    CIPM I certification opportunity.  Get certified, or re-certified, as a CIPM professional.  The class has been designed so you don’t miss out on all the day-time activities.

    Tours of Cultural Properties sites across the Yale campus.  Included tours of the Yale Center for British Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale West Campus Cultural Properties holdings and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Peabody Museum of Natural History.  We are also working on other surprises!

    *New this year—a one day class on Tuesday September 19th on “Security for Special Collection Librarians”.  This class is designed to help librarians prepare and/or improve the security at their facilities.  Complete syllabus and registration details are coming soon.

    Conference registration, tradeshow and reception on Sunday evening September 17th.  We expect to have a wide variety of vendors participating at the tradeshow.  Come see what’s new in the industry!

  • December 20, 2016 4:13 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Esq., CIPM

    Museums routinely protect their collections from threats of loss posed by theft, fire, natural disaster, and infrastructure failure. But do they effectively shield their collections from legal confiscations? To prevent artifacts from being seized by law enforcement, lawyers, or the courts, cultural institutions must guard against acquiring stolen or smuggled artifacts. They can do this by applying rigorous due diligence when performing provenance investigations.

    When a museum fails to acquire good title to an object because the object is stolen property, or when a museum finds itself in possession of illegally imported cultural contraband, then the illicit object may be seized either through a private lawsuit (called a replevin action); a civil forfeiture claim, usually brought by federal a prosecutor; a search warrant; or some other legal remedy that ultimately strips the artifact from the museum’s possession.

    If the artifact is stolen, then the rightful owner—usually a country like Italy, Greece, or Turkey in the case of a looted antiquities—will regain the property because, under the law, the owner never loses title to it. That is the result even if a museum acquires the stolen property in good faith, because an innocent purchaser generally cannot claim legal title to stolen property when confronted by the true owner. What’s more, the true owner is not required to pay compensation to a museum that is forced to surrender the stolen property, which means that a museum could lose thousands or millions of dollars. In addition, a museum that acquires specified archaeological or ethnological material that smugglers illegally imported into the United States in violation of federal customs rules must relinquish it. Federal authorities usually seize and forfeit this contraband before returning it to the country of origin.

    Many archaeological artifacts have been removed from museum display cases over the years because they were looted or smuggled. The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Getty Museum; and the Princeton Museum together have surrendered hundreds of looted and smuggled antiquities to Italian authorities in several highly publicized cases. The Dallas Museum of Art too returned six objects from its permanent collection to Turkey, including a pair of shields purchased from a dealer under investigation by U.S. Customs for several years. The same dealer was able to sell objects to at least eight major American art museums because no one carefully checked the goods he offered for sale. Cultural property watchers also remember a winter’s day in 2008 when federal agents in California raided the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Bowers Museum, the Pacific Asia Museum, and the Mingei Museum, armed with search warrants to “seize in place” ancient objects. That police investigation led to the felony convictions in 2015 of a pair art dealers who ran an antiquities import and tax fraud scheme involving antiquities originating from Burma, Cambodia, China, and Thailand. 

    Cases like these prompted some cultural institutions to make meaningful corrections. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts set the gold standard in 2010 with its addition of a curator for provenance, a full-time professional who carefully checks the collecting histories of objects. Operational improvements, like this one, have proven beneficial in today’s world where law enforcement and the public are more keenly aware that recently surfaced and undocumented ancient objects likely are the fruits of destroyed temples, plundered tombs, and vandalized ceremonial centers, which are sold on an art market that has earned a reputation for its lack transparency. Law enforcement and legal watchdogs, moreover, are on elevated alert after the FBI warned last year that antiquities trafficking may supply financial support to terrorists in the Middle East. For cultural institutions still lacking solid protective measures that guard against collecting illicit artifacts, this means that they will continue to face acute risk, both legal and reputational, particularly in cases where collected objects come from countries that suffer from, or that have recently experienced, widespread or highly publicized heritage site looting (e.g., Afghanistan, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Mali, Syria).

    Typically what causes a museum to unknowingly acquire illicit artifacts is a lack of due diligence. Due diligence is the term used to describe the background investigation that cultural institutions should employ to discover an artifact’s origin and its collecting history, particularly the details of its excavation, ownership, possession, transportation, conservation, sale, and so forth. This inquiry may be referred to as a provenance check. It is a pre-acquisition investigation meant to uncover whether an object is authentic or fake, whether its export and import were compliant with applicable laws, and whether its title can transfer legally to the museum. Flawed due diligence may result in a museum acquiring an antiquity or other object that later could be removed by police, lawyers, or a court order.

    To prevent losses to their collections—and the bad publicity that ultimately follows—museums first should understand their fiduciary duty of care, which is the legal obligation imposed on trustees of nonprofit cultural institutions to exercise reasonable care when managing assets. This duty requires artifact accessions to be done lawfully and in good faith. The duty of care is embraced, in some measure, by museum codes of ethics like those published by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the International Council of Museums (ICOM), which outline specific due diligence standards.

    The variety of standards, however, are neither uniform nor sufficiently rigorous in many cases. For example, ICOM’s Code of Ethics and AAMD’s Guideline on the Acquisition of Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art disagree with each other about whether due diligence should include a review of customs compliance in a country through which an artifact passed. An examination assessing whether customs rules in a transshipment country were followed is important because smuggled artifacts typically pass through intermediary countries so that smugglers can surreptitiously mask the export and import trails of loot. So while ICOM’s due diligence rule properly asks museums to “establish the full history of the item from discovery or production,” AAMD’s diminished rule limits a museum’s background check to “compliance with the export laws of the country of immediate past export to the U.S,” ignoring compliance with the laws of every country of export and import.

    There is little agreement too about the standard of review that should be applied. For example, one major museum’s collections policy declares that there must be “clear and convincing evidence” to prove that an object, already in the museum’s collection, had been stolen, looted, or smuggled before the object will be removed (deaccessioned) from the collection. Yet this same scrupulous standard is watered-down when the museum exercises due diligence before it adds new archaeological objects to its collection.

    The best due diligence, of course, is rigorous due diligence. It is the kind of diligence that directs museum personnel to ask pointed and comprehensive questions and to insist on sufficient and credible documentation from dealers, auction houses, and donors. It is the kind of diligence that demands answers about whether an artifact has been stolen, illegally exported, or smuggled before an object is acquired, and even afterwards. Rigorous due diligence easily satisfies the duty of care and best prevents the loss of objects from a museum’s collection.

    As a practical matter, we should ask what rigorous due diligence is actually due? One answer comes from a recommendation presented by collectors in 2009 to the Ancientartifacts Yahoo! group. Titled A Code of Ethics for Collectors of Ancient Artifacts, it offers the following quoted suggestions:

    ·       “Ask the vendor for all relevant paperwork relating to provenance, export etc.”

    That means asking for the bills of lading, invoices, customs entry forms, export permits, and all other paperwork that track the object’s movements.

    ·       “Take extra care if collecting particular classes of objects which have been subjected to wide-scale recent looting.”

    For example, avoid acquiring artifacts that are listed on one of ICOM’s publications known as Red Lists, which identify at-risk cultural heritage originating from countries that suffer severely from cultural heritage looting and plunder. 

    ·       “Verify a vendor’s reputation independently before buying. Assure yourself that they are using due diligence in their trading practices, and do not support those who knowingly sell fakes as authentic or offer items of questionable provenance.”

    Learn more about the dealers, auction houses, and donors offering artifacts by getting client references, scanning publicly available court records for criminal or civil claims against them, and reviewing corporate records (available on many secretary of state offices’ web sites) to verify legitimacy. 

    ·       “Do not dismember any item, or acquire a fragment which you believe to have been separated from a larger object except through natural means.”

    For instance, beware of acquiring a single object that would have been paired with another object. You would be suspicious if a salt shaker were sold without its companion pepper shaker, so be suspicious if a single statue that is commonly found a part of a pair is offered for sale.

    ·       “Consider the implications of buying an item from an associated assemblage and the impact this could have on study.”

    Be cautious when considering the purchase of one portion of an entire temple wall or a single cut-out from a complete ancient papyrus roll, for example. 

    ·       “Liaise, where possible, with the academic and broader communities about your artifacts.”

    Have open conversations about the object and its collecting history in order to learn more perhaps about its provenance from experts.

    ·       An item not suggested by the ethics code, but which is absolutely important, is conducting a visual inspection of the object. Use a black light to spot unusual marks or cover-ups like nail polish, which can be used to remove an identifying registration number from an inventoried museum object. Examine edges to see if they are straight and smooth to help determine whether an object has been cut recently from its original archaeological source as when looters use diamond-tipped steel circular saws to cut decorative slabs from ancient tomb walls.

    Effective loss prevention involves the application of this kind of rigorous due diligence. It helps cultural institutions acquire valid legal title to licit cultural objects and protects museum collections from legal seizures, all while instilling public confidence in museum collecting practices that aim to preserve humanity’s precious cultural heritage.

    Ricard A. St. Hilaire, Esq, CIPM


  • November 15, 2016 4:19 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)
    By Joan Baldwin [reprinted from the Northern States Conservation Center Collection Caretaker eNewsletter November 15, 2016]

    Not everyone comes to the museum field eager for leadership. Sometimes we're moved forward. Sometimes we realize we're ready for it and we move ourselves forward, but all too often leadership is an unintentional consequence. Like when you become the education director and find out that you're supervising a staff of 50 volunteers, but only until the organization hires a volunteer coordinator. In the next fiscal year. Suddenly you're a boss of a lot of people some of whom are old enough to be your parents or your grandparents.

    On the other hand, if you aspire to museum leadership, but aren't there yet, you may have heard or read the phrase, "you can lead from anywhere in the room." We used it more than a few times in Leadership Matters. And we believe it, but to the uninitiated, it may be hard to figure out how to look like a leader when you're in row three at an all-staff meeting, and potentially the youngest or newest person in the organization. So here--in no particular order--are some strategies for figuring out leadership before you get the job.

    1. Learn how to say you're sorry. All leaders make mistakes. And if you can't humble yourself in front of your team, there won't be much trust there. The next time you mess up, get out in front of the error quickly. Apologize to your boss and your colleagues and offer strategies, either personal or organizational, for moving forward.
    2. Separate the parts of your job over which you have authority from those where you're the one responsible. In many museums there are the worker bees who take on more and more work. Why? Because they're great time managers, they have a sense of duty, and their bosses know a good thing when they see it. But multiple responsibilities don't add up to authority. They add up to a huge to-do list over which you have little control in the end. The result? You are angry or sad or possibly both. Make a list. Separate your job into areas over which you have real authority, and the areas where you're responsible. Be strategic. At your next job review, advocate for increased authority.
    3. Enthusiasm isn't everything. Be strategic when talking about your work. Let your director (or direct report) know why you like something. Hearing general enthusiasm for working with collections isn't the same as hearing your enthusiasm about finally moving the Excel files to the new open-access collections management program.
    4. Don't hang out with the office gossip. Every office has one and museum workplaces are offices. That person has defined power as knowing as much as she or he can about everyone. Back-stabbing and talking behind people's back is not the path to leadership.
    5. Embrace change. Every office also has the person who can't cope with change. They mournfully explain why new ideas won't work, describing in painful detail how some variation of what's just been proposed didn't work 15 years ago. Or was it seven years ago? Don't be that person. In fact, be the person who gently shuts them down and suggests experimenting.
    6. Support your colleagues. They don't have to be your friends, and you never have to see them three sheets to the wind at the office holiday event, but you need one another to make stuff happen. That's why you come to work. To make stuff happen. So don't judge. Just assume everybody's trying their best.
    7. Advocate for your program, project, exhibit or idea. If you don't care about what you're doing enough to talk about it, why should anyone else?

    And let us know how you lead when you're not the person with the title.

    Reprinted with permission from Leadership Matters Posted: October 31, 2016 

    Thoughts on 21st Century museum leadership by Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin

    For more information on Leadership please check out other articles from this Blog.

  • October 19, 2016 6:20 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    By Peggy Schaller [reprinted from the Northern States Conservation Center Collections Caretaker eNewsletter - October 15, 2016]

    Why are periodic inventories important?

    There are two main reasons for doing periodic inventories. No, it is not just to make you do more work! Inventories are an important function of museum collections management. The main reason is to keep track of your collections. You cannot display or otherwise utilize what you cannot find. If you cannot find it, you have not lived up to your public trust responsibilities regarding your collection and the object might just as well be gone. And how do you know it is not gone? Maybe there has been a theft of which you are not aware?

    Secondly, periodic inventories allow you to monitor the condition of the objects. Doing an inventory forces you to look at each individual artifact as you are verifying that it is where it is supposed to be. This is the perfect opportunity to make an examination of the current condition of your objects. If that small crack you noticed last time has gotten bigger, maybe the environmental controls need to be checked. If there is evidence of insects where there was none before, maybe you have an infestation that needs to be dealt with. Many small or large changes can be caught by regular examination of your collection.

    Who will do the Inventory?

    Only those persons authorized to be in the collection areas should be in charge of doing a Collection Inventory. All helpers during this process must be trusted Collection Staff, another staff member or background checked volunteers. All volunteers must be paired with a staff member and should never be allowed to work in the collection unaccompanied.

    Collection Inventories, at their most efficient, are done with teams of two--one person to handle and describe, the other to record the information on the Inventory sheet. One member of this team should be a collection staff member, the other may be a volunteer or other staff member.

    Before beginning an inventory, each person involved should go through a short training session on proper handling of collections and how to describe artifacts. Remember, the descriptions required during an inventory are NOT cataloging descriptions, but short, concise descriptions that will allow you to tell one artifact from others of a similar nature.

    So how do you go about doing an inventory?

    To avoid having your inventory turn into an exercise in frustration, you must have a systematic plan. Do not hop from one shelf to another, or one room to another, you will tend to forget where you have been and will surely miss something. Do one room or section of the museum at a time. Choose a starting point within that room or section and proceed in a logical manner one shelf or case at a time. Always finish each section/shelf/cabinet/drawer before moving on to the next.

    To learn more join Peggy Schaller in MS218: Collections Inventories starting November 7, 2016.

    Peggy Schaller, founded Collections Research for Museums in 1991 to provide cataloging, collection-management training and services. She has worked with a large variety of museums and collections for more than 20 years. Peggy, who lives in Denver, Colorado, has a bachelor's degree in anthropology with minors in art history and geology from the University of Arizona in Tucson. She has a master's degree in anthropology with a minor in museum studies from the University of Colorado in Boulder and is a Certified Institutional Protection Manager II. For more information visit her web site  Collections Research for Museums. Peggy is also the Publications Manager, Certificate Program Coordinator, and Course Monitor for Northern States Conservation Center and

  • October 12, 2016 3:12 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    If you think you loved the David Hockney exhibition held at the de Young Museum in late 2013, consider its effect on the local co-curator of the show, Richard Benefield. Benefield has served in several key roles at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the de Young umbrella institution) in his four years there, including two stints as acting director. Now, it has been announced he will begin a new job in January — as executive director of the David Hockney Foundation. “I’m over the moon,” he said by phone.

    Benefield was the first director of San Francisco’s Walt Disney Family Museum, a position he held from 2008 to 2011. Earlier, he held administrative positions at the art museums of Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University. He and his husband, John Kunowski, will move to Los Angeles, where the foundation is headquartered and where Hockney lives.

    In 2014 the David Hockney Foundation reported assets — primarily works of art — valued at more than $136 million. The purpose of the foundation, Benefield said, is “to further educate the public on arts and culture.” It does this primarily through support of Hockney projects — he has four major exhibitions scheduled in the coming year, as he turns 80. A new book, “A History of Pictures: From the Cave to the Computer,” written with British art critic Martin Gayford, is launching Oct. 6.

    The Independent newspaper reported that in 2012 Hockney was “the most generous philanthropist” in Britain. As it has been in the past, San Francisco will likely again be a beneficiary of that largess: on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the aquisitions committee of the FAMSF voted to recommend that the full board accept a gift from the foundation of two multi-screen video works, “Seven Yorkshire Landscapes, 2011” (which has been on view in the de Young lobby since the show in 2013) and “The Four Seasons, Woldgate Woods (Spring 2011, Summer 2010, Autumn 2010, Winter 2010).”

    Charles Desmarais is The San Francisco Chronicle’s art critic. Email: Twitter: @Artguy1


  • October 04, 2016 4:25 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    Top U.S. Government Security Chiefs Join Thousands of
    Physical and Cybersecurity Professionals in Orlando

    Alexandria, VA (Sept. 22)–Security professionals from 109 countries gathered in Orlando, September 12-15 for the ASIS International 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits (ASIS 2016), the profession's most comprehensive education program and security marketplace. The event, which was co-located with the (ISC)2 Security Congress and InfraGard 20th Anniversary Congress & Conference, attracted more than 22,000 registrants, representing 10% growth from the previous year. Keynotes by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson and FBI Director James B. Comey underscored key conference themes, specifically the rise of lone wolf attacks, the risk of a cyberattack on critical infrastructure, and the need for greater public-private sector collaboration.

    "In addition to my volunteer leadership role, first and foremost I am a security management professional," said David C. Davis, CPP, 2016 president, ASIS International. "From the trade show floor to the formal education program, the depth of learning offered at this year's event was astonishing. As a result, attendees and exhibitors were able to hold meaningful conversations about the current threat landscape, the new tools and solutions available, and how to best support each other's goals."

    The four-day program, which also featured keynotes by Ted Koppel and Elliott Abrams, included more than 250 education sessions, the first U.S. Outstanding Security Performance Awards, and inspiring remarks by Everest survivor Dr. Beck Weathers. In addition, ASIS 2016 showcased 550 exhibitors, providing attendees with hands-on access to security technology addressing the full spectrum of threats including drone detection, body worn cameras, autonomous security robots, cyber intrusion detection software, 4K cameras, data analytic tools, and more. 80% of ASIS 2016 exhibitors have already rebooked for ASIS 2017, convening Sept. 25-28 in Dallas.

    New this year, InfraGard co-located its annual Congress and Conference with ASIS 2016 and will continue the partnership in Dallas in 2017. Both Secretary Johnson and Director Comey identified the need for greater private-public sector collaboration, which this relationship exemplifies.

    "With increased terror threats both domestically and globally, collaboration with the public, government, and private sector is critical to the security of our citizens, as well as vital infrastructure," said Gary Gardner, chairman, InfraGard Board of Directors. "Partnering with ASIS ensures our collective memberships have access to the intelligence and current threat assessments needed to protect and provide resilience for the communities in which we serve."

    In conjunction with the event, ASIS held a free Community Preparedness and Prevention Seminar as part of its inaugural Security Week. Supported by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Infrastructure Protection, the program educated Orlando community leaders and small business owners on the fundamentals of security, soft-target protection, and crisis preparedness. In addition, ASIS provided free access to the conference and expo for all active duty military, law enforcement, and first responders as part of Law Enforcement and Military Appreciation Day. ASIS rounded out its community outreach with the ASIS Foundation School Security Funding Competition, providing Lake Brantley High School with a $22,000 donation for security upgrades and $19,000 of in-kind security equipment and improvements.

    "As the global organization representing more than 35,000 security professionals worldwide, ASIS is distinctly positioned to deliver a dynamic security event that is truly by the industry, for the industry," said ASIS International CEO Peter J. O'Neil, who took the helm of the association earlier this year. "I was inspired and energized by the passionate community of security professionals who convened in Orlando last week. While our annual conference delivers unparalleled value in information sharing, networking, and exposure to cutting edge technology, our constituents can rest assured that we are committed to evolving and modernizing the event's content, format, and events to meet the rapidly changing needs of today's security professionals. We look forward to building on this year's success in Dallas next September."


  • October 04, 2016 4:18 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    After 18 months of rigorous testing in a host of prestigious museums and the homes of high-end collectors, Art Guard’s MAP has proven its unique ability to prevent the theft of art and other valuables where other security methods fail and is now available to the public at large.    

    NEW YORK – September 19, 2016 – Today Art Guard announced the formal release of its MAP, or Magnetic Asset Protection, sensor in the U.S., Canada and Mexico after carefully supervised installations in public institutions and high-end private homes across the country. MAP is a patented wireless technology that provides object-specific theft protection by assigning a unique digital ID to art and other valuable stationary assets. The MAP technology is distinct in its ability to secure even the smallest objects. Art Guard, a Brooklyn based company, also introduced MAP Wi-Fi, a plug-and-play system providing total asset security with the convenience of home automation.

    “Art theft is a growing problem in the US and worldwide,” said Art Guard co-founder Bill Anderson. “As art proliferates and its value continues to climb, the consequences of theft have never been greater. Most museums, homes and other facilities that display art and valuable assets are totally unprepared to deal with the problem – relying solely on perimeter intrusion security. These systems have to be disarmed to allow for daily activity, often leaving assets completely vulnerable. With the MAP system, Art Guard is delivering museum-grade protection, 24/7, at an affordable price to any facility displaying or keeping art or valuable assets.”

    MAP can easily be installed in any location, providing object-specific protection for stationary assets, including art, antiques, jewelry, historical and religious artifacts, collectibles and memorabilia.  In the last 12 months, Art Guard’s MAP has been installed in many of this country’s most prestigious museums, galleries and homes of well-known collectors.

    Of particular note is the MAP installation in a museum that suffered one of the greatest thefts in history. The museum was able to open a room closed to the public for 40 years as a result of protection afforded to its historic and irreplaceable objects, meeting both stringent security and conservation criteria.  

    The MAP system works when a tiny magnet is safely and discreetly attached to an object and the object is then placed in close proximity to the wireless MAP sensor, which is also hidden from view. Once the sensor recognizes the magnet and is enrolled in a control panel, any movement of either the object or sensor triggers an alert and a customized response, including communication to any mobile device. Providing security for individual objects has never been as critical or as easy.

    Flexibility is a major factor in selecting security systems, as is interoperability with existing home automation. MAP can act as a standalone system or seamlessly integrate with existing security systems from DSC, Honeywell, Interlogix, 2GIG, Qolsys and Elk, as well as Tyco access controls in larger facilities. With the introduction of Art Guard’s plug-and-play MAP Wi-Fi system, MAP sensors can also easily be paired with the popular Helix Wi-Fi panel for home and small facility asset protection.

    Art Guard works closely with qualified security installers and integrators on the seamless installation of MAP, bolstering conventional security systems. Whether working with installers or supporting MAP’s DIY Wi-Fi system, Art Guard also applies its expertise in the art space to partner closely with qualified art handlers to ensure proper application of sensors and magnets.

    Building on the momentum of MAP, Art Guard is tapping into additional opportunities in the home automation market. Art Guard is currently developing a Z-wave protocol version of MAP that will seamlessly integrate with almost any IoT system, for both consumer and institutional use. Incorporating its technology into RF, Wi-Fi and Z-wave products will allow Art Guard to address the broadest needs in art and asset security, both in the U.S. and abroad.

    “Art Guard’s MAP has given both security and the conservators a real sense of comfort that no other product has been able to provide” said the Chief of Security of a major NYC museum. “Small and discreet, MAP sensors placed behind a painting or under an object can detect any unauthorized movement and deliver an immediate response. Providing this type of object-based security is the future for museums and private collectors looking for a heightened level of protection."

    For more information, visit

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