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  • September 06, 2016 5:21 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    by Ibrahim Bulut

    [reprinted from ASIS Cultural Properties Council August 2016 Newsletter]

    Summary of the 2016 Amelia Conference

    The Association for Research into Crimes against Art is a research and outreach organisation working to promote the study and research of art crime and cultural heritage protection.  One of the ways this is done is by identifying emerging and under-examined trends related to various types of art crime and in doing so work to highlight developing strategies that advocate for the responsible stewardship of our collective artistic and archaeological heritage.  In furtherance of that, each year ARCA hosts a weekend summer art crime conference in Italy, where allied professionals, academic scholars, and students across interdisciplinary fields convene within the old walls of the quiet Umbrian town of Amelia, for what has come to be known as the Amelia Conference. 

    This year's event was held June 24-26, 2016. 

    As with previous years, the objective of the conference was to share perspectives and approaches working to abate art crime and illicit cultural property trafficking internationally, while facilitating an atmosphere of communication and collaboration between professionals working in the sector in order to share new and emerging approaches. The conference takes place mid-way through ARCA’s ten-course Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection which in turn gives the Association's postgraduate students the opportunity to meet and speak with experts from all over the world while exchanging news, ideas and experiences.

    The following recap will provide a brief summary of the speakers’ messages in brief.

    Alesia Koush, an art historian with Heritage Community Life Beyond Tourism® created by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation®, which has been operating for over twenty years for intercultural dialogue and peaceful coexistence in the world, gave the opening address.

    Koush's research focuses on the protection of cultural heritage and she serves on the foundation’s international board of experts. In the framework of these activities, she conceived and coordinated two editions of the international workshop “Value Education for Culture, Peace and Human Development” – a theme representing the result of her multi-annual research, which she continues to develop participating at international conferences and publishing articles.

    In Kouch's presentation “Without culture, there is no peace” she stressed that more recognition and legal protections for our shared, inalienable human right to culture are necessary. She reminded the audience of the teachings of Russian artist, Professor Nicholas Roerich and philosopher Swami Vivekananda who both stressed the need for protection of cultural values, stressing cultural education as a a critical component of teaching society of the necessity of preserving universal human values.

    After the opening address, Saturday's first panel elaborated on the current climate of civil, national, and international law as it relates to cultural heritage protection.
    Dr. Saskia Hufnagel, co-director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of Londondiscussed the restitution of cultural heritage objects within the German context, pointing out that criminal prosecution can often be faster than civil restitution.

    Ivett Paulovics and Pierfrancesco C. Fasano, Milan-based Attorneys-at-Law from FASANO Avvocati, noted the initial shortcomings and subsequent changes in the EU legal framework for unlawfully removed cultural objects and the important changes brought about by EU Directive 2014/60, involving a shift in the burden of proof onto the possessor of the object.
    Silvia Beltrametti of the University of Chicago Law School presented her study on the impact of court convictions of antiquities dealers on pricing and provenance of ancient artifacts at auction. Her analyses concluded that international treaties and legal threats correlate to a greater market demand for items with clearer and demonstrable provenance. The relationship was clearly exemplified by spikes in the price of classical and Egyptian objects accompanied by better documentation of the collecting history corresponding with the timing of high-profile prosecutions, like that of Fredrick Schultz and Giacomo Medici.

    The second morning panel consisted of European and Antipodean perspectives on art and heritage crime and the trafficking of culture within the former Yugoslavia, the Balkans, and Australia.

    Helen Walasek, author of Bosnia and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage, formerly worked with the Bosnian Institute in London and Bosnia-Herzegovina Heritage Rescue (BHHR). Walasek brought insight into the destruction and damage of cultural buildings of significance in the region and the functioning dutiesof the  International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The judgments represented a growth in humanitarian pressure and response to inflict penalties on perpetrators of cultural heritage destruction that willfully inflicted harm on the morale and history with no military necessity. Walasek underlined the importance of recognizing that damages to culturally significant property reach not only those near affected areas, but also the entirety of mankind.

    Elena Sciandra, a Ph.D. student in International Studies at the University of Trento School of International Studies with a M.Sc. in Criminal Justice Policy, shared her findings on illicit antiquities trafficking occurring in the Balkan region. Sciandra called for greater research dedicated to transit countries involved in trafficking activities.
    Kenneth Polk and Duncan Chappell examined and presented contemporary developments in the Antipodean art world. Dr. Polk is a retired Professor of Criminology at the University of Melbourne and continues to serve as a researcher on such topics as art theft, art fraud, and the illicit traffic in antiquities.  He also has been recently appointed by the Australian Government to the National Cultural Heritage Committee. Dr. Chappell is a lawyer and criminologist, currently teaching as a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney, and as a Conjoint Professor in the School of Psychiatry at the University of NSW. He is also the Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence in Policing and Security and ARCA's Art and Cultural Heritage Law professor for the Postgraduate Certificate Program. Together Polk and Chappell noted that typical trafficking portals in their region include Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore and both cited multiple cases and legal instruments, including the “Head of Man” sold by Subhash Kapoor and the Australian 1986 Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act’s Section 14 on Unlawful Imports.

    Saturday's first afternoon panel highlighted the current state of endangered antiquities from Mesopotamia to South Arabia via the Levant. Chaired by ARCA 2015 Alumni, Samer ABDEL GHAFOUR, the founder of the ArchaeologyIN – Archaeology Information Network, the panel focused on best practices and the positive impact of community-focused development projects in the protection of cultural heritage in politically strained regions.   Mr. Abdel Ghafour also introduced ARCA's three 2016 Minerva Scholarship students for this year's postgraduate program:  Zuhoor Khalid Ali Al-Ansi, from Yemen, Ahmed Fatima Kzzo, from Syria and Ameer Doshee Jasim from Iraq. All three students have been sponsored by individuals and organisations who want to promote the study of art crime among the professional community actively working within conflict zones. The Minerva scholarship is set aside to equip scholars with the knowledge and tools needed to build the capacity to address heritage crimes successfully when they return to their home institutions and to advance this training within their respective regions. 

    Carla Benelli, a 2015 ARCA alumna and Osama Hamdan described the politicized use of archaeology for territorial control in occupied Palestinian territories as well as the current state of poor management and neglect of archaeological sites in that region. Carla Benelli, is the Cultural Heritage Project Manager at the Associazione pro Terra Sancta (Custody of the Holy Land) at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. Osama Hamdan is the Director of the Palestinian NGO Mosaic Centre and a Lecturer at the Higher Institute of Islamic Archaeology at Al-Quds University in Palestine. Both speakers encouraged greater investment in people within the region, facilitated by an improved education system and government strategy.  

    As a Research Fellow at the University of Pisa, Costanza Odierna shed light on the widespread destruction of archaeological heritage at risk in Yemen and the University of Pisa’s related projects in support of Yemeni museums, including the Damār Museum and Zngibar Museum. Odierna introduced the digital archive her team has created, known as the Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions (DASI), to act as a resource for study and preservation. 

    Next, Professors Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati spoke of their experiences at Tell Mozan (Arabic: تل موزان‎‎, ancient Urkesh; Hasakah Governorate, Syria), in modern-day Northern Syria.  Nearly 20 years ago, the pair and their team identified the fourth millennium BCE tell located in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains in Al-Hasakah Governorate and have been working on the site through 17 seasons of excavations. 

    Dr. Giorgio Buccellati is the Founding Director of the International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies - IIMAS and a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati serves as the Director of Excavations at the ancient city of Urkesh and is a faculty member at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

    Together, the Buccellati's offered practical and cost-effective solutions which they have used to harness vital community-based social-cultural infrastructures as a means of preventing site damage and the looting of their archaeological site. Their long-term project in Syria, located just 60 kilometers (37 miles) from ISIS-controlled territory, has been successfully maintained and protected despite its at-risk proximity to conflict zones in a large part because local staff are instilled with an intense loyalty to the heritage of the region and to the scientists and scientific work being conducted at Tell Mozan over the last decades.

    The Buccellati's efforts to harness the cooperation of local people, who now serve as guardians of the Tell Mozan site, are documented in a report titled "In the Eye of the Storm," This report details how a plan to protect Urkesh from crumbling has inadvertantly served as a model for protecting the heritage site during and in spite of Syria's long-standing armed conflict.  

    The Buccellati's challenged the audience, asking: “How can we expect stakeholders to protect the sites if we do not?”

    The afternoon’s second panel discussion focused on characterizing and anticipating the trafficking of culture in and from zones of conflict.

    Dr. Samuel Andrew Hardy, a specialist researching the illicit antiquities trade and the destruction of community and cultural property for various organizations including UNESCO is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program in Sustainable Cultural Heritage at the American University of Rome.  Hardy spoke on his work “The Importance of Being Diligent” and existing trends in present-day conflict antiquities looting.

    Andrew Scott DeJesse, Lieutenant Colonel and Cultural Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army, provided an overview of his work on the Collective Heritage Lab. The innovative social laboratory is being developed to track the antiquities trade and disrupt the connections between the demands of the legal antiquities market, the grey market, and the illicit trafficking of stolen artifacts.

    Britta M. Redwood, J.D. candidate at Yale University, discussed museum and collector liability under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. Redwood shared perspectives on several recent cases, including Linde et al. v. Arab Bank in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project in the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The second day of the conference began with a morning panel focused on cases of art crime occurring in Italy, offering insight into the challenges of repatriation as well as how successful joint mediation efforts can be useful in developing collaborative relationships which facilitate repatriation. 

    Serena Raffiotta, Archaeologist, shared the story of a blue curl that her team discovered in Morgantina, Sicily. Through her relationship with the J. Paul Getty Museum, she found that this small piece was, in fact, a perfect puzzle fit to the iconic terracotta head of Hades within the institution’s collection at the time. The Hades sculpture has since been returned to Morgantina. Stefano Alessandrini, Archaeologist and Consultant for L’Avvocatura dello Stato, Italia, brought his perspective from his efforts to repatriate illicitly trafficked works of art home to Italy.

    Virginia Curry, retired FBI Special Agent and Doctoral Candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas, shed light on the long-standing history of unethical collecting methods among some collectors of ancient art. Curry told the story of Piermatteo d’Amelia’s “Annunciation”, originally from the altar of a Franciscan church located just outside the city of Amelia, not far from the Boccarini cloister where the conference was held. By examining letters between Isabella Stewart Gardner and Bernard Berenson which highlight a long succession of business transactions between Berenson and Gardner in the purchasing of art works Ms. Curry highlighted that the Boston-based collector had more than passing knowledge in the illicit nature of the stolen “Annunciation” which ultimately ended up in her private collection. 

    Sunday's second group of morning panelists spoke about fakes, forgeries, and the illicit trafficking of rhino horns infiltrating the market.

    James Ratcliffe, General Counsel and Director of Recoveries at The Art Loss Register, spoke about fakes and forgeries circulating in the market, as witnessed by his firm. The Art Loss Register is one of  largest private database of lost and stolen art, antiques, and collectables. Their services include item registration, search and recovery services to collectors, the art trade, insurers, and worldwide law enforcement agencies. Some of the items Ratcliff covered were the corruption and manufacturing of false provenance, the use of provenance to legitimise forgeries and the difficulties that arise from the fact that so few people have any interest in revealing forgeries which results in the recycling of fakes and forgeries in the market.

    Dr. Annette Hübschle-Finch, Senior Research Advisor at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, shared her studies on the market and the grey zone of regulation for rhino horns. Hübschle-Finch underscored that South Africa continues to allow recreational hunting of rhino horns for hunters with permits, resulting in abuse as well as regulatory challenges. The last speaker was Allen Olson-Urtecho, an art adjuster, investigator, and principal at Fine Arts Adjusters LLC as well as a Ph.D. student at IDSVA.  Olson-Urtecho  introduced his team’s Fine Art Forensics Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and stressed the importance of disseminating knowledge to wider audiences to curb the proliferation of fakes and forgeries within the marketplace.

    In the afternoon, perspectives of art crime were shared by public sector law enforcement officers as well as private investigators.

    Jordan Arnold, Senior Managing Director at K2 Intelligence, shared insight into the Panama Papers that were leaked from the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca and its impact on future regulation targeting the art market. Arnold spoke about the regulatory functions of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the responsibility of banks and financial institutions to monitor accounts for suspicious activity under the U.S. Patriot Act. 

    Fons van Gessel, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Security and Justice in the Netherlands, and Martin Finkelnberg, Head of the Art and Antiquities Crime Unit in the National Criminal Intelligence Division of the National Police of the Netherlands, shared findings from the 3rd meeting of the EU CULTNET held in the Hague on 25 May 2016. The EU CULTNET is the informal network of law enforcement authorities and experts in the field of cultural goods. van Gessel and Finkelnberg stressed the need for cooperation and the exchange of information and best practices.

    Michael Will, Manager of the Organized Crime Networks Group and Focal Point Furtum at
    EUROPOL, provided an overview of EUROPOL's and Europe's involvement in the fight against cultural goods trafficking. Gonzalo Giordano, General Secretariat and Sub-Directorate of the Drugs and Organized Crime in Works of Art unit at INTERPOL, discussed initiatives and methods at INTERPOL’s Works of Art unit utilised in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property.

    The final conference panel dealt with cultural heritage risk management approaches to effectively balance the accessibility with the protection of collections.

    Judit Kata Virág, Registrar at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, called for greater stewardship and cooperation between museum professionals and law enforcement agencies in the fight against art trafficking. Dick Drent, Associate Director of SoSecure, Toby Bull, Founder of TrackArt, and Ibrahim Bulut, Business Development Manager at Meyvaert Glass Engineering, reminded the audience that in the security profession there are two basic approaches used to deal with security vulnerabilities: reactive and proactive.  Reactive approaches are those procedures that museums use once they discover that their facility has been compromised by an intruder or attack. Proactive approaches include all measures that are taken with the goal of preventing risks before they occur compromising security.   Speaking candidly with the attendees the panalists underscored that security doesn’t begin with the detection of a compromised situation resulting in a theft or damage to an art work, but with an advanced plan to minimize risk that includes many factors customized to the needs of each individual facility. The speakers on the panel pushed for change from reactive measures and fostering mew approaches which take into consideration proactive measures within the security sector, facilitated by security intelligence coupled with smarter techniques and more security focused construction.

  • August 24, 2016 3:48 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    By Stevan Layne

    We have been overwhelmed by recent events, most of which involve an individual (sometimes more than one) acting independently to shoot and kill people they don't know. Several targets have been uniformed police officers. Other targets have been random...firing into crowds...driving a truck into crowds.   The results are the same whether targets are planned or random.   Any place where people gather is a potential target including small museums, libraries, historic sites, or anyplace open to the public.

    There's no need to be looking for someone who has been "radicalized."   These kinds of acts have been committed by individuals in society who may be influenced by drugs, alcohol, mental unbalance, or religious fervor.   They have taken place for a long time, and they're not about to stop.   If assault rifles aren't available, there are plenty of other weapons to choose from.   It appears that these events are on the increase, perhaps because our media coverage is more detailed and more frequent. There are some who feel that the media is often responsible for encouraging tragic events by giving these individuals the opportunity to have a larger audience.

    If you want to avoid any possibility of exposure to a violent act, stay home, barricade your doors and driveway, board up your windows, and stockpile food and water. Certainly not practical, nor desirable. A more reasonable approach is to make everyone you work with aware of the potential threats and encourage their reporting even rumors of someone with a threatening attitude.   We need to thoroughly screen all regular staff, part-time staff, volunteers, and even contractors.   Criminal histories are the first step.   Don't hesitate to ask about someone's thoughts on the current state of affairs, especially acts of terror. Terrorists are NOT a protected group and you don't have to worry about discriminating against them. Someone who appears to admire violent acts, has access to weapons or seems exceptionally involved with weapons needs to be identified and dealt with in an appropriate manner.   This may include reporting to law enforcement, direct confrontation, or even termination of employment and barring from the property.

    Secure your building and its perimeter.   No one should have the ability to enter your facilities without your direct observation or electronic access, preferably both. Package inspection for both staff and visitors is essential. No one wants to change their lifestyle by staying away from public events.   However, a realistic attitude is to use caution and to always look for escape routes from any building, including retail outlets, movie theaters and other public buildings. Do something to give the appearance that your property is secure and the staff alert. Be visible. When sponsoring a special event, assure that security staff or hired police officers are available and alert to threats. Is all of this necessary?   Only when it's necessary.   You may have operated in a vacuum, safe from any threats for your entire history. That has nothing to do with avoiding attacks in the future.   Perpetrators can come from any location, any level of society, any race or religion.   Be suspicious. Be prepared. These comments and recommendations are opinionated, harsh, and may seem unrealistic. They are shared, however, by most of my peers, the experienced law enforcement agencies. Be safe!   Don't hesitate to contact us for additional information.

  • August 14, 2016 1:30 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    Within one week in 2008, the British Museum and the Musée d’Orsay were exposed as horrifically under-secure. In a harmless but embarrassing incident at The British Museum, a political activist managed to place message-scrawled surgical masks on several of the Terracotta Warriors on loan from China. The high-tech alarms, which used software to draw an imaginary barrier around the warrior statues that, if crossed, would sound an alert, never went off. A museum-goer had to fetch a guard, to inform him of the vandalism taking place.

    At the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, drunken vandals broke in and punched a hole in a Monet, before escaping. They did set off an alarm, but guards did not respond in time to stop them. If a practical joke and an unpremeditated drunken attack are so easily accomplished, what’s to stop adept criminals from stealing from the world’s most prominent museums? These are just a few of the countless examples of successful art heists or attacks in major museums, and each one means that some element of security has failed.

    Art crime is among the highest-grossing criminal enterprises worldwide.

    Art crime needs to be curbed, but few realize the severity of it. Art crime is among the highest-grossing criminal enterprises worldwide. Since the 1960s, most art crime has been perpetrated by, or on behalf of, international organized crime syndicates. It funds all of the other criminal activities in which these syndicates are involved: from the drug and arms trades to terrorism. Governments, who tend to dismiss art crime as involving only the unimportant trifles of the wealthy, need to be shaken out of their torpor. Governments talk a good game about dyking terrorist funding sources, but have only over the last year or so stepped up to do anything about antiquities looting, which provides millions of dollars per year to organized crime and terrorist organizations.

    Ibrahim Bulut knows all about security, particularly when it comes to art. He works as a specialist for the Belgian Meyvaert company, which makes showcases to display art. This may seem like a highly-specific thing to focus on, but their display cases hold works of art that can be worth millions. And because they make bespoke cases, they can be fitted with all manner of hi-tech gadgetry, an array of alarm options, and glass strengthened to withstand attacks from hammers, firearms, even flame-throwers. His firm has worked with the world’s leading museums, but their most unusual project is at the forthcoming Louvre Abu Dhabi.

    “Securing art is an art in itself,” Bulut says. “Protecting high-value artifacts needs special measures, and this can be done in a wide variety of ways, from electronic security systems to high security glazing. High security showcases are a key component to protecting priceless objects, an important complement to organizational measures.” Museums have never been so technologically, and expensively, protected. And yet, theft from museums is on the rise. Why this discrepancy? The answer becomes evident when we examine the time of day at which thieves strike. Museums are secured like fortresses during their hours of closure. Their Achilles heel is the time when they are open to the public. Thieves are choosing not to circumvent elaborate alarm-based defenses, but rather burst right through them in short, violent “blitz” thefts. Alarms are only effective if they prompt a timely and useful response from human guards or police. If the response is as inept as in the aforementioned examples, then the alarm is rendered ineffective.

    Bulut continues, “An effective security and safety policy invests in people, who are the strongest link in your security chain. Technology is at its best when it is managed by well-trained staff. Security awareness and basic knowledge of the installed security systems is a must for every cultural institution.”

    Of late, two fields of thought have risen in the world of museum security. On the one hand, we have a primarily American response to museum security, both in geography and in mentality. Most American museum directors, fueled by insurers, insist that their security departments provide a zero-risk environment. This is, of course, an impossibility, when the charge of museums is to present their collections to the public. But the assumption accompanying this demand is that the more money spent, and the higher-tech the security systems, the better protected the art.

    In Europe, by contrast, many of the leading security specialists, like Dick Drent of the Amsterdam-based firm SoSecure, have made the simple but important point that there is risk inherent in displaying art to the public. That risk should be acknowledged, in order to better

    be contained. The extension of this newer rationale is the further observation that higher-tech does not necessarily mean more secure, and that one universal security system for an entire museum runs the risk of turning into a Maginot Line. In the 2008 case of the Musée d’Orsay, as with the famous “blitz style” 2004 Munch Museum theft in Oslo, criminals chose Alexander’s approach to the Gordian knot—when confronted with a complex defense system, simply slice right through it, and act before defenders can react. But in this instance, as in most museum thefts, the success may be attributed not to the consumate skill of the thieves, but to the frustrating failure of the guards to respond effectively.

    Human guards have always been the least reliable line of defense in museum security. We need only remember the theft of Benvenuto Cellini’s Saliera from the Kunsthistorichesmuseum in Vienna. An allegedly drunken man scaled a scaffold alongside the museum and smashed a window to gain entrance, setting off an alarm. The museum guards, assuming it to be a false alarm, turned it off and resumed their naps and nocturnal entertainments. Now inside the museum, the intruder smashed a glass vitrine containing Cellini’s gold and silver salt cellar, one of the finest works of 16th century Italy and perhaps the world’s most famous creation of goldsmithery. The shattering set off a second alarm. Now highly annoyed by two disturbances in the same evening, the guards switched off the alarm a second time. The intruder, Robert Mang, left the way he came. It was after many fruitless inquiries and months later that Mr Mang turned himself in, and led police to the unharmed Saliera, buried in a box in the woods outside of Vienna. What is the lesson here? For most museum guards, the duration of their career will see only a handful of alarm incidents, most or all false. The most exciting endeavor for a majority of museum guards is to prevent six-year-olds from licking a Degas. The natural human assumption is to switch oneself off. Good security directors train and maintain a readiness among their staff to combat the ever- growing enterprise of art crime. If you see a museum guard catching up on a good novel or doing a crossword puzzle on duty, if you see a guard seated, staring off into space, or finishing a difficult Sudoku, do the civilized world a favor. Give that guard a piece of your mind for slacking on the job, and then write a letter to the museum director. Keep in mind that the painting that they allow to be stolen is being used as collateral in a deal for drugs or arms, or is funding a terrorist attack. Whether or not you are an art lover, unless you are a fan of drug and arms dealers and terrorists, you want art to be protected.

    Human guards must be trained and maintained in an effective manner. It is ludicrous to spend millions on high-tech security systems, if one’s guards won’t know how to respond when they are needed. The best security directors, with budgets large and small, distinguish themselves by how they train their guards.

    “There is no such thing as water-tight security,” Bulut warns, “but effective security measures can prevent a great deal of crime, and certainly a great deal of loss. Security must have a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan A must focus on deterring and delaying a crime. Plan B must focus on detection, further delaying, alarming, assessing the alarm and an adequate response. An adequate response means interrupting the adversary before loss or damage to the artifact.”

    Human guards providing an adequate response is crucial. All the hi-tech gizmos money can buy are ineffective if they are not accompanied by an adequate response. Museums need to re-evaluate the role and training of their guards. If not, lupine art thieves will have the run of the hen-house, and even the most sophisticated alarm systems will be nothing more than sound and fury—a soundtrack echoing through the empty halls of the world’s museums.

    To learn more about art crime, visit You can study art crime on the ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art) Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, which runs every summer in Italy.

  • August 03, 2016 6:22 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    Congratulations to IFCPP Sargent at Arms and regular instructor, William J. Powers III, CIPM II, CIPI, for completion of a Masters degree in Administration of Justice and Security/Global Homeland Security from the University of Phoenix.  Mr. Powers is proud to report that, “This degree program included excellent classes that were of value to those working in Law Enforcement and Private Security alike. Because I am active in both fields, the program was very interesting on multiple fronts.  

    One highlight of the program included how government agencies function and budget for those of us who are not currently serving in government positions.  Also, the course included varying lessons on Emergency Management and how EM functions at Local, State, and Federal levels. A common theme in all classes was the various changes in security after the 9-11 attacks.  Courses revealed that the restructuring of U.S. Department of Homeland Security after 9-11 failed during the first major incident in New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina).  The most frustrating, ever-present theme that appeared throughout the program was the lack of communication amongst all emergency agencies, despite the major improvements that have taken place. Lastly, courses revealed how fragile our critical infrastructures in America really are.

    I applied for and was chosen for a Scholarship to enroll in the program through ASIS. The degree took me 20 months and 30 hours a week to complete, with two summer breaks of less than 89 days (because I continued to work summer weekends in Law Enforcement). It was a great experience, and the classes were very current, timely, and interesting.”

  • July 19, 2016 7:09 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

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

    In order to provide interesting and educational exhibits for your visitors and protect your collections and visitors, consider the following elements when planning and executing your exhibitions:

    Exhibit furniture

    Use exhibit furniture and materials that are safe for your collection items. Traditional wooden exhibit cases, particularly oak, are generally used in museums because they look nice. However, without being properly sealed these cases can actually be harmful to the objects you display in them. Wood gives off harmful acidic gasses that can increase the aging properties of many collection materials and oak is the worst of all. Be sure to place a protective barrier between your objects and the wooden floor of the case. Use a barrier material that will block the migration of the acids from the wood such as Polyester sheeting, Marvelseal, or aluminum foil. The wood can also be sealed using a moisture-cured polyurethane or latex paint, but these products must be allowed to dry completely and finish curing before artifacts are placed in the case. This process may take up to 3 to 4 weeks. Better choices for exhibition cases are powder-coated metal and glass cases or sealed wood bases with Plexiglas vitrines. Fabrics used in exhibition cases should be inert and un-dyed: polyester, cotton, linen, or a polyester-cotton blend. If you must use a colored fabric for esthetic reasons, test it for color fastness before using it. You do not want your exhibit fabric to bleed onto your objects if the humidity rises or there is a water incident. Artifact mounts should be made of safe materials and should properly support your objects. Mounts should be padded so as not to scratch or rub your objects. Metal mounts can scratch and corrosion can stain objects if they are not protected by polyester, polypropylene, or polyethylene tubing or other inert padding. Plexiglas can be used for mounts; be sure the cut edges are polished so they are no longer rough. Fabric or Tyvek covered polyethylene foam blocks or Backer rods can be fashioned into mounts for storage and exhibition.

    Case Lighting

    In-case lighting can raise the ambient temperature inside the case and lower the relative humidity such that your artifacts are affected to their detriment. Close-in lighting like this can also increase fading of artifacts like textiles and paper-based items. Florescent lighting must be filtered, inside or outside of the cases and incandescent lighting is extremely hot. Fiber optic lighting can be safely used inside a case as the heat source is away from the end of the light tube; however, the nearness and intensity of the light can still increase fading. Outside-the-case lighting is a better option if possible, but remember to filter for UV and limit the length and intensity of the exposure for optimal collection care. LED lights are now available for museum applications and can be a good choice.

    Traffic Patterns

    Plan an open traffic pattern for your exhibits. Make sure that there is enough room in the gallery for visitors to comfortably navigate around the exhibits and cases. Refer to the Americans with Disabilities Act for the proper path width so that disabled visitors in wheelchairs can negotiate your galleries. Always plan with ADA compliance in mind and make sure the exhibition cases are not too tall for children and people in wheelchairs; that wall cases and other design elements are not hazards for blind or limited vision visitors; and that your labels are readable by all visitors in terms of mounting height, print size; color combinations and location. Making the space around your cases wide enough to comply with ADA regulations will not only make the exhibit more enjoyable for all your visitors, it will make it less likely that the cases will be accidentally bumped because of close quarters. Bumped cases can cause artifact damage.

    Security for exhibition galleries

    Exhibit security is a very important element of any exhibition. Your exhibit cases must have good locks that are not easy to open. Alarmed cases are better if you have the funds to manage it. Open exhibits should be monitored closely and/or have perimeter alarms to alert staff when visitors get too close or attempt to remove items from the exhibit. They should also have a barrier to keep visitors from entering the area--stanchions are good; Plexiglas or other solid barriers are better. You might be surprised what visitors will do even when there is a barrier blocking their way! Watch out for the parent who lifts their child over the barrier to pet the buffalo, Mountain lion (big kitty) or touch an artifact! This is not only detrimental to the artifact, but can be dangerous for the child (ex. arsenic in animal mounts). Beyond the physical security of barriers, locks and alarms, and cameras, there is a simple and effective way of keeping your exhibition galleries safe. Even if you do not have the funds to have a full time security staff, your regular staff can take 'walkabouts' at irregular intervals around the galleries to survey what is happening. Walk around the museum and engage your visitors by asking if they are enjoying themselves and ask if they have any questions. An engaged and happy visitor is less likely to mess about with your collection than a visitor who thinks no one is watching.

    Reprinted from Collections Research News Winter 2012-2013 from Collections Research for Museums.

    More about Safe and Secure Exhibition Practices can be found in the following courses offered by Northern States Conservation Center's

    MS 107: Introduction to Museum Security, August 1 to 26, 2016

    Instructor: Stevan Layne

    MS 233: Matting and Framing, August 1 to 26, 2016

    Instructor: Tom Bennett

    MS 204: Materials for Storage and Display,September 5 to 30, 2016

    Instructor:  Helen Alten

    Also check out our other upcoming courses below or at

    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. She teaches several courses for MS103 The Basics of Museum Registration; MS207 Collections Management: Cataloging your Collection; MS267 Museum Ethics; MS218 Collection Inventories and MS007 The Museum Mission Statement: Is it Really That Important? 

  • July 11, 2016 3:46 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    Since its launch just a few short days ago, Pokémon Go has created quite a stir. Not only is it one of, if not the fastest, downloaded games in app history, which is a success for its creators, it has created a lot of discussion throughout the business world regarding access. As one of the properties where the characters reside, we have seen a 200% increase in activity on our trails after dark since the games release. During the day, people of all ages have been seen standing in the middle of bushes “acting odd” and unfortunately, walking through flower beds and areas cultivated specifically to attract butterflies. While these few behaviors outside might be considered exciting by some, as they are bringing people to the property, our landscape and maintenance teams do not have the same feeling on the subject.

    Thankfully we haven’t had anyone fall into a ravine, or walk off into one of the ponds, which has occurred elsewhere in the three countries where the game has first been released. We have experienced people walking into walls and almost falling down interior stairs (head down looking at their phone) including adults, not just kids, as one might expect - grownups running through the galleries trying to beat a friend to the next location.

    I’m not against anyone having fun, or the developers of these games from making money, this is America and free enterprise builds our economy.  My concern is that with every good thing there are those who will utilize it for evil. Not just trampled flowerbeds, but true criminal and even terroristic activity.

    What do I mean? We have spent decades training security personnel to patrol and observe by exception (i.e. if it looks out of place than it most likely is and should be addressed). I spent a full day just last week with Homeland Security looking at their new training program regarding workplace violence and active shooter. Guess what, one of the key aspects noted was to train staff to be aware of “odd” behavior and report it. The standard “See Something, Say Something” approach. How does this fit into the behaviors associated with AR Games?  Do I have my exterior officers approach everyone standing off in the grass, or in the bushes making hand gestures on their phone?

    This activity is also quite distressing from a surveillance awareness standpoint. Are they here acting strange because they are looking for Pokémon, or are they just pretending so they can surveil the exterior aspects of my facility, how many staff are scheduled, etc. One key aspect of training staff to be aware of this type of surveillance is the frequency with which the person is seen. With the advent of the AR Games, seeing the same person on the property becomes a common issue. I’ve been able to determine that we have over 30 of the Pokémon characters located on our property. It will not be uncommon for my exterior team and interior security staff for that matter to see the same faces multiple days while they try and “capture” them all. As we do not charge admission to access our general galleries, it makes it easy for them to return time and time again. Phone in hand walking all around, stopping in front of doors and hallways. This type of behavior would have been deemed very suspicious and addressed prior to the games release. Now it will become common behavior and staff may simply ignore the activity.

    To take this a step further, let’s say you’re responsible for critical infrastructure, such as a security director for a power plant. One of these characters is placed just outside your gate. The first few times someone comes up and attempts to “capture” it.  Your officers ask them politely to leave, but they argue with your staff concerning the game, etc. Human nature being what it is, after the 150th person comes up to the gate to “play the game”, the officers have now become so accustomed to this behavior it isn’t considered “odd” any longer. Who from that group of 150 was playing the game and who was checking out your security, access points etc.? It’s impossible to tell.

    Let’s move to the mall, people walking all around with phone in hand looking to “capture” Pokémon. Seams innocent enough, after all it’s just a game isn’t it? How about the one person, or team of people “playing the game” who are actually surveying the scene and activities of others as they plan their criminal enterprise.    

    If I were planning to rob a bank, I would place a Pokémon character right inside near the counter, so I could check on the daily routine of everyone inside. Yes, that’s possible once you have gained a high enough level within the game, you can place them where you wish, not to mention the hackers who have already demonstrated they can access the game for their own personal reward.

    This is just the first of many AR type games that we will see in the coming years. As long as they are profitable for the creators, we will continue to deal with the issues associated with them.

    Let’s keep the discussion going, stay open minded, and share ideas regarding training, observational skills, and ways in which we can provide safe environments for staff and guests, while meeting the security needs of the same.

    Geoff Goodrich
    Director of Protection Services
    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
    Bentonville, Arkansas

  • June 28, 2016 10:27 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    We are very pleased to welcome aboard our newest team member, Tyler Freeman!  Tyler will be taking over LMS (Learning Management System) development, elevating IFCPP online certification and training to a new level.  Over the next few weeks, Mrs. Freeman will also be coordinating development of IFCPP’s newest customer service-centric certification program for line officers and frontline staff!  Stay tuned, you’ll be hearing much more from Tyler very soon…

  • June 28, 2016 6:20 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    By Mark C Peterson

    [reprinted from the ASIS Cultural Properties Council Newsletter - April 2016]

    For security professionals, it is a familiar image. A diligent system operator sitting in a dimly lit space, surrounded by the glow of technology. The radio crackles as the operator communicates in 10-code with patrolling security officers in response to a security event. The quintessential security control center (SCC). Sometimes referred to as the security operations center, or simply the control room, it is the recognized heartbeat of many comprehensive security programs. By definition, this widely deployed security element is often the center of control for security operations.

    Most commonly deployed within medium to large institutions, the SCC is often the element around which security operations revolve. The SCC may fill the command and control role within security operations. The definition of command and control in this application is to “provide direction of security resources for the protection of staff, visitors, and assets of the institution”. Operational direction by SCC operators should, or course, be given in accordance with the institution’s established policies and procedures. At a high level, SCC operators:

    Monitor electronic security systems to obtain situational awareness. Communicate with security staff/patrols in response to security events. Coordinate the assessment of, and response to, security events. Document security activities.

    • As electronic security systems (ESS) are deployed throughout the institution, the SCC has

    traditionally served as the centralized location for system monitoring and operation. This means that much of the investment in ESS can often be located within the SCC (Hey, we had to put that stuff somewhere.). The expanded use of networked, or IP-based, systems has largely removed many of the constraints of older technology that made it difficult, and costly, to monitor and operate ESS across multiple locations. The traditional paradigm of centralized monitoring is now being challenged by today’s state-of-the-art system capabilities to more easily distribute system monitoring and operation across multiple locations.With security operations, one size does not fit all. This also holds true with the role and operational expectation of the SCC. While they can be quite similar, each and every security organization is unique in its support of the institution’s unique environment and culture. So it is reasonable to assume that the role of the SCC can be different from institution to institution. How the role of the SCC may be different is less important than whether the role of the SCC is adequately defined. Only by defining the expectations of the SCC, within security operations, can its performance and effectiveness be properly evaluated. Regardless of the institution’s expectations of SCC operations, a few simple questions can help determine if the SCC is fulfilling operational expectations for predicable performance.

    Is there a documented statement describing the role of the SCC? The importance of documenting the role and operational expectations of the SCC cannot be overstated. SCC operations often occur behind the scenes. The organization, and executive management, does not always recognize the critical role that the SCC plays in securing the facility. As important, the organization does not always have an accurate expectation of SCC capabilities. Sometimes, inaccurate assumptions do not become apparent until a serious security incident is experienced. It is then that questions are asked like “Why wasn’t the incident identified on camera?”, or “Why didn’t the operator alert security patrols in time to prevent the incident from happening?”. Let’s face it, every SCC deployment has operational constraints and deficiencies. It is best to proactively understand and address these within the organization before they bubble up as the result of a serious security incident.

    Do the SCC operator duties support the operational expectations of the SCC? The role of the SCC operator is one of the most critical positions within the security organization. However, in so many cases, duties are assigned to SCC operators that are in direct conflict with their ability to monitor and respond to security events. SCC operators are often tasked with:

    • Managing access control for contractors, visitors, and/or deliveries. Issuing visitor passes and temporary access badges. Issuing radios and other security equipment to officers. Issuing and managing staff keys.
    • Answering the institute’s general phone line to answer questions and provide directions. Manage lost and found.

    In many cases, these additional duties are assigned because the operational policies and procedures for SCC operators to actively communicate and engage with security officers and patrols are not adequately defined. From management’s point of view, SCC operators appear to have time on their hands, making them targets for other duties.

    Are the SCC policies and procedures relevant to the current ESS configuration? As previously discussed, state-of-the-art networked ESS provides security with enhanced operational features. If, and when, institutions are fortunate enough to be able to invest in system upgrades and/or replacement, the configuration of the SCC should change accordingly. It is not uncommon to see institutions spend significant capital dollars for the latest technology only to use them according to outdated policies and procedures. System upgrades and/or replacements are opportunities to reinvent security operations; increasing operational effectiveness and efficiencies.

    Is the configuration of the SCC conducive to effective system monitoring and operation?

    The SCC environment must enable effective operator operations. In many cases the SCC is a 24/7/365 operation. The environment should support a comfortable and operationally efficient environment. Adequate temperature control and lighting are important for operator comfort. The layout of equipment is essential to effective SCC operations. The position of the operator in relation to user interface devices (monitors, keyboards, mouse, etc.) affects their ability to more easily manipulate systems. What is the expectation of operator performance in an environment where scores of video images are simultaneously displayed? While it may look impressive, overloading the operator with video images may actually reduce their ability to identify activity of interest. The strategy for the configuration of video monitors must be in line with the performance expectations for the SCC operators.

    Who has access to the SCC? Due to the critical role of SCC, and the level of vigilance required for SCC operator duties, unnecessary distractions should be eliminated. That being said, there are many SCCs where security, and in some cases, non-security personnel freely enter the SCC. Even when fitted with access control, many of the institution’s staff have access privileges that include access into the SCC. SCC operations are very focused and time sensitive. Each and every access into the SCC creates the potential for distraction from identifying an important security events, or delay the assessment or response to an event. In most cases, the

    only persons that should be allowed to access the SCC are those security staff actively engaged in SCC operations, and their supervisors.

    As I like to say, “It is always enough security until it isn’t”. It is difficult to quantify the effectiveness of security within an institution or to know just how many security incidents were prevented, or their impact minimized, as a result of security operations. The role of the SCC is not always apparent and, as a result, may fall victim to unnecessary distractions, overloading of duties, and inadequate policies and procedures. Ironically, when faced with a security event, the organization’s expectation for SCC operations is to spring into action, ninja style, to prevent or neutralize the security threat. While the critical role of the SCC is beyond dispute, it is not uncommon to find its effectiveness being undermined; even to the point of losing control.

    Mark C Peterson is founder and principal consultant at M. C. Peterson & Associates, LLC, senior design consultant for Layne Consultants International, Inc, and Technology Advisor for the International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection. Mark is a 35 year veteran of the security industry with an emphasis in design, implementation, and operation of electronic security systems.

  • June 15, 2016 9:55 AM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    By Peggy Schaller (reprinted from the Northern States Conservation Center's Collections Caretaker eNewsletter)

    What exactly is collections stewardship and how does it affect you? According to the AAM Standards Regarding Collection Stewardship, collections "Stewardship is the careful, sound and responsible management of that which is entrusted to a museum's care."

    All museums, whether they are active collecting institutions, non-collecting institutions or somewhere in-between, have collections of one kind or another because we all use 'things' to tell our story. These 'things' can take many forms. They can be works of art, historical/ethnographic objects, natural history specimens, live plants or animals, historic properties or interactive, hands-on exhibit objects. They can be owned by the institution or on loan from another source, but all should relate to and enhance the museum's mission.

    The "careful, sound and responsible management" of these collections can be roughly divided into two main categories. The first is physical management. This includes providing an appropriate environment for the storage and exhibition of collections in our care and for the transportation of collections within and outside our institutions; providing physical security for collections in storage, on exhibit or moving through the institution or to/from another location; providing written procedures and proper training for monitoring, handling and care of collections; periodic inventories and designated storage/exhibit locations for collections; and addressing collections in disaster plans and drills. The second category is intellectual management. This involves the documentation of collections by accessioning, cataloging and documenting appropriateness to the museum's mission; established policies and procedures which outline the museum's responsibilities to the collections, reasons for acquiring them and appropriate uses for them; consistent record keeping and records management; and adherence to ethical, legal and moral obligations to the public trust surrounding our collections and the public benefit derived from them.

    All these things make good collections stewardship the responsibility of every person involved in the successful day-to-day operation of our institutions. It is the primary mission of all museums and cultural institutions to preserve collections for present and future generations, but also to make these 'things' available and accessible for the enjoyment and education of these same individuals. The balancing act of preservation versus accessibility is the essence of collections stewardship.

    AAM's Standards Regarding Collections Stewardship contains specific guidance and standards for museums to strive for in the management of their collections and can be found at:

    Reprinted from Collections Research News, Fall 2001.

    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. She teaches several courses for MS103 The Basics of Museum Registration; MS207 Collections Management: Cataloging your Collection; MS267 Museum Ethics; MS218 Collection Inventories and MS007 The Museum Mission Statement: Is it Really That Important?

  • June 14, 2016 6:53 PM | Rob Layne (Administrator)

    by Marshall Goldsmith

    Have you ever worked with someone who incessantly whined about how unfair things are, how bad, how wrong or how irrational? When people constantly whine and complain, they inhibit any chance they have for impacting the future. Their managers view them as annoying, and their direct reports and co-workers view them as inept.

    Nobody wins.

    In the words of the late Peter Drucker, Every decision that impacts our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision – not the ‘right’ person, or the ‘smartest’ person, or the ‘best’ person – make peace with this fact.”

    As simple and obvious as this statement may seem, I am amazed at how few (otherwise intelligent) people ever deeply ‘get’ this point. When your child comes home from school and complains, It’s not fair! The teacher gave me a ‘C’ and I really deserved an ‘A’! We, as parents, should say, Welcome to the real world, kid! In life you have to accept the fact that decision-makers make decisions – and that you are not always the decision maker.” We will always have bosses, teaches, analysts or Boards who give us ‘grades’ that we disagree with.

    What can you change, and what is beyond your control?

    On the surface, acceptance—that is, changing what we can change and being realistic about what we cannot change in our lives—should be the easiest thing to do. After all, how hard is it to resign yourself to the reality of a situation?

    You assess it, take a deep breath (perhaps releasing a tiny sigh of regret), and accept it. And yet acceptance is often one of our greatest challenges. Rather than accept that their manager has authority over their work, some employees constantly fight with their bosses (a strategy that rarely ends well).

    Rather than deal with the disappointment of getting passed over for a promotion, they’ll whine that It’s not fair!” to anyone who’ll listen (a strategy that rarely enhances their image among their peers or gets them that promotion).

    Rather than take a business setback in stride, they’ll hunt for scapegoats, laying blame on everyone but themselves (a strategy that rarely teaches them how to avoid future setbacks).

    When enthusiasm fades, the initial cause is often failure to accept what is and get on with life.

    A few years ago, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune asked me if managers today are more abusive than any time in history (a logical question in a discussion of executive behavior).

    Are you kidding me?” I said. We still have many inequities and bad bosses, but life is much better than it was two hundred years ago. We used to have Kings, minimal worker rights, and human beings who were ‘owned’ and had no rights at all. In the developed world it can be bad today, but human beings are making some progress.”

    We’ve come a long way. Most major companies now believe in certain inalienable rights” at work. We have the right to be treated with respect. We have the right to be judged by our performance and character rather than by a fluke of lucky birth. If we’re women, we have the right to be paid as much as a man for doing the same job. When inequities such as these arise, they’re worth arguing over. These are the battles that we should be fighting.

    But a lot of small stuff remains. A colleague gets a promotion we thought we deserved. The boss showers a rival division with money, ignoring our area. We’re given a hiring freeze while others get every new person they ask for. This is the stuff that still makes us howl, It’s not fair!”

    Such “equity” moments resemble one another in one clear way: A decision has been made that we disagree with. What’s worse, we believe that we are not getting a good explanation—although that doesn’t stop us from re-asking, which is the same as arguing over it. And when we do get another explanation, it’s not good enough for us.

    Arguing that It’s not fair!” doesn’t change the outcome. It doesn’t help our organizations or our families or ourselves. It only lowers our passion. By recognizing this classic trap, we can better determine which battles to fight—and which ones to avoid. At work, and even more so at home, even if we succeed at winning with this whine, it’s not worth the cost.

    Once we make peace with the fact that the people who have the power to make the decisions always make the decisions – and we get over whining because ‘life isn’t fair’ – we can become more effective at influencing others, making a positive difference, and even become the person who makes the decisions!

    We can fight the battles that are really worth fighting, and quit bugging the world because, The teacher gave me a C!”


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