INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FORCULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION
Reposted from Security Management Magazine
At just three pounds, the brain is responsible for determining if we breathe, how we move, our manner of communication, what we think, how we feel, if we learn, what we remember, and what we hold meaningful.
Three pounds is responsible for who we are.
In the past several decades, the depth and breadth of brain research has exploded. Some of the most significant findings reveal the extent to which we can consciously influence the way our brains work and, consequently, how we show up in the world.
For security professionals, this has exciting implications for improving foundational skill sets, including complex decision-making, situational awareness, and de-escalation.
A basic understanding of the brain’s structure and functions—and of proven ways to naturally and effectively change brain chemistry—can elevate performance. Doing so also ensures that we are responding to circumstances with intention, rather than reacting solely on (neurochemical) impulse.
To understand how we can change our brains to support optimal performance, it is helpful to know a few basic concepts.
Brain Basic #1: The brain is a key part of the central nervous system. This includes the somatic and autonomic nervous systems. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is most relevant to performance in security. The ANS consists of the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is associated with our aroused “fight or flight” responses to threats. The parasympathetic nervous system is inhibitory; it calms the body so it can resume normal functioning and recover from stress.
When faced with threat or conflict, the sympathetic nervous system—specifically, the amygdala—is what is sent into fight or flight mode. This occurs in 50 milliseconds, or roughly half the time of an eye blink. The sympathetic nervous system is highly developed, and it is estimated to be approximately 300 to 150 million years old.
In contrast, it takes approximately 10 times as long for the “younger” frontal lobe—which developed in humans and primates only 3 million years ago—to kick in.
In the .55 seconds before our frontal lobe reacts to a perceived threat, our sympathetic nervous system has already responded, and we will have a primitive emotional reaction of fear or anger. The body responds to these emotional cues by diverting resources away from parts that are less critical and concentrating them on those needed for survival, such as the larger muscles, heart, and lungs. Physiologically, this can result in increased heart rate, muscle tension, decreased saliva, and dilated pupils. A further cascade of additional physiological and cognitive changes can potentially compromise decision-making and situational awareness.
Vision can be impacted, resulting in “tunnel vision” or a narrowing of the visual field. Hearing can be affected, and we can experience muted, amplified, or missing sounds. Fine motor skills and coordination can be compromised. The ability to communicate can be impacted, resulting in issuance of unclear or even contradictory messages, such as, “Don’t move. Place the item on the floor,” or “Be quiet. Tell me your name.”
Additionally, because the brain’s more primitive way of responding to threats has been activated and its goal is to maintain safety, we are more susceptible to view situations from a biased perspective as we seek familiar patterns which might not accurately reflect the current circumstances.
Brain Basic #2: Autonomic does not mean automatic. The word “autonomic” was coined in the 1900s and reflects the brain research available at that time—it connotes an involuntary or unconscious response. Modern science demonstrates, however, that we can functionally change our autonomic states through breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, modulating our voices, altering our diet, and changing our thoughts. We do not need to automatically react to situations. Instead, we have the ability to intentionally respond.
Brain Basic #3: What fires together wires together. Known as Hebb’s Rule (so named after the pioneering neuropsychologist who proposed the groundbreaking theory), this concept summarizes the basic way humans learn and form memories: The repeated firing of proximate neurons in the brain causes the relationships between these neurons to strengthen. Eventually, the activation of one neuron will trigger the activation of another. These relationships allow us to learn complex tasks, such as playing a musical instrument or using a firearm.
Hebb’s Rule led to additional discoveries in neuroscience, including the concept of neuroplasticity, which shows that we can create new neural relationships throughout our lives. This is particularly important because some of our neural pairings may not have formed intentionally and may not serve us well. If early in life someone learned to smother feelings of fear or anxiety with anger, this now familiar response could be so conditioned that the person may not be aware of his or her initial experience of fear in a circumstance, and he or she risks missing valuable contextual information.
So, how can security professionals apply these basics to day-to-day tasks and challenges?
The ability to engage in complex decision-making and to maintain accurate situational awareness are foundational to effective security management.
Complex decision-making involves the deliberate evaluation of options and the selection of a course of action that is most likely to achieve a desired outcome. It requires an understanding of a situation and the ability to rationally choose from reasonable alternatives.
For security professionals, complex decision-making and the need for situational awareness are most often associated with potentially threatening or conflict-laden situations, moments when the brain will immediately respond in a manner that can undermine the ability to effectively respond.
This compromised response state results from Brain Basic #1—the role of the central nervous system.
Mitigating the impact of the sympathetic nervous system’s acute stress response—the primitive flight-or-fight emotional reaction that will physiologically occur faster than we can rationalize it away—involves Brain Basics #2 and #3.
A key first step is to identify that the autonomic nervous system has been triggered. Noting changes in breathing or heart rate and attaching language to the associated emotional experience—“I am feeling threatened” or “I am feeling agitated”—allows time for the cortex to catch up with the experience. Note the use of the phrase “I am feeling…” rather than “I am…” This will help prevent over-identification with the amygdala’s primitive emotional response, and it can short-circuit the fight or flight signal.
A second step is to regulate the physiological response, which typically involves taking deep, rhythmic breaths. While doing so, continue to engage the cortex by assessing the situation with questions like “What is the immediate threat?,” “Do I need to engage now?,” or “Is there something I’m missing?” Rapidly cycling through basic problem-focused questions supports rational decision-making that is less vulnerable to a reactive or biased response.
The brain’s neuroplasticity (referenced under Brain Basic #3) can help with longer-term management of the acute stress reactions triggered by the amygdala. By leveraging a few key tactics, we can literally rewire ourselves in advance of dealing with threats and conflicts to support more effective decision-making and improved situational awareness.
Physical rehearsal. Tabletops, functional, and full-scale exercises typically focus on the logistics and operations of responding to common threats. Incorporating scenarios that require rehearsing stress responses to a threat or conflict—responding to an armed or suicidal customer or patient, for example—and including a rehearsal of steps such as noticing changes in breathing or heart rate, naming feelings, taking deep rhythmic breaths, and rapidly cycling through problem-focused questions can train the brain to manage its responses when needed.
Mental rehearsal. Elite athletes, performers, and motivational speakers are among many professionals who prove that the brain doesn’t differentiate between reality and fantasy when it comes to improving performance. Engaging in mental rehearsals in which myriad threats are met with calm awareness and intervention can likewise improve performance when needs arise in real life.
Mindfulness meditation. Research demonstrates that mindfulness meditation, during which the focus is being intensely aware of what you are experiencing and feeling in the moment without evaluation or judgment, significantly improves the ability to regulate responses to emotional reactions.
Several studies show that those who engage in as little as 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation for five days demonstrate improved self-regulation. They also exhibit lower anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue, plus a significant decrease in stress-related cortisol.
We not only have the ability to influence our own autonomic nervous system response when we perceive a threat, we can also influence the reaction of others who feel threatened.
Research on emotional contagion finds that humans synergize to each other’s emotional states. Marketers, professional sports leagues, and comedy shows that record before live audiences leverage this principle to influence behavior; the positive mood that spreads through groups increases individuals’ propensity to make purchases and enhances performance.
Recent studies show that the physiological and neurological matching occurs even in the absence of physical presence. For instance, emotional posts on social media platforms have been shown to be contagious. In a large-scale research study conducted by Facebook and several U.S. universities, positive and negative Facebook posts were manipulated. Researchers found that when positive posts were removed from accounts, leaving users with more negative content, they subsequently posted more negative content. When negative posts were removed from accounts, more positive posts followed. The Facebook study offers insight as to why a single, prolific disgruntled employee can be so damaging for a workforce’s morale—and how consistent supportive messages can foster resilience.
When we encounter someone who is extremely agitated or tense, our primitive response will be to match their state of emotional arousal. Conversely, by understanding this autonomic reaction and replacing it with a regulated affective reaction—such as calmness or compassion—we can create a counter-contagion that will influence and reinforce whatever words and behaviors we use to defuse the situation.
Moving beyond the individual, security professionals can use basic knowledge of brain science to elevate the safety literacy of the workforce. Modern workforce safety training generally includes education on the behavioral indicators that can be associated with potential threats of violence: expressions of grievances; dramatic mood, behavioral, or life circumstance changes; signs of substance abuse; preoccupation with weapons or violence; excessive attention-seeking or isolation; and expressions of anger or hopelessness.
Having a knowledgeable workforce is foundational in capturing intelligence on a potential violent actor—provided the workforce is willing to clearly and accurately report behaviors that they witness.
Underreporting. We’re all hardwired for survival, and educating people about behavioral risk factors and risk reporting mechanisms can leverage that instinct, resulting in increases in reporting of threatening behaviors.
One drawback, however, is that this approach can have unintended consequences given its reliance on the reactive sympathetic nervous system (Brain Basic #1). A highly reactive workforce tends to overreact, rendering it more problematic than helpful.
Although we are programmed for survival, humans also appear to be hardwired for altruism. Research shows that infants as young as 6 months demonstrate preferences for those who help others, while avoiding those who don’t.
Working with the C-suite, human resources, legal counsel, and others to create a workplace violence prevention plan that prioritizes intervention instead of discipline—and frames reporting as an altruistic act—is a more productive way to capitalize on human nature.
Inaccurate reporting. Potential violent actors often exhibit multiple behavioral warning signs in the months and even years prior to their attacks. According to The Violence Project, 43.15 percent of mass shooters through 2019 (including those involved in workplace violence, school violence, and public space violence) exhibited one to four behavioral indicators; 37.7 percent exhibited more than five.
Obtaining accurate, objective data on potential behavioral indicators is both critical and challenging. One of the primary reasons for the latter again relates to our primitive survival instinct and what is known as the ambiguity bias.
When faced with ambiguous circumstances, the human mind is biased to draw conclusions that skew toward the negative. This helps the human species survive when, say, we hear a rumbling in a nearby bush and immediately presume that it is a tiger about to eat us rather than a kitten that wants to cuddle. It is less helpful when a member of the workforce witnesses one of the behavioral indicators and makes a biased conclusion. For example, someone sees a colleague sharing photos of their past several weekends at the gun range and reports both the photos and their unfounded theories about the coworker’s malicious intent as facts.
As with any bias, educating the workforce about ambiguity bias is one way to mitigate its impact. Compassionately verifying the account of a well-intended reporter is clearly also imperative.
Intentionally using—and changing—our brains enhances the ways security professionals can keep those we serve secure. Doing so repeatedly leverages the brain’s neuroplasticity and builds new neurocircuitry that wires us to respond rather than react to the situations we face.
Three pounds can make us more effective security professionals and more effective humans.
See Original Post
Reposted from Artnet News
Recently, it’s felt like hardly a day goes by without hearing of yet another climate protest staged at an art museum.
It began in October, when two women from Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London, and has picked up pace ever since. Just this past weekend in Rome, activists with Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) pelted Van Gogh’s The Sower, and at the Prado in Madrid, two people wearing t-shirts reading “Futuro Vegetal” (Plant Future) glued themselves to the frames of two works by Goya.
But as the trend accelerates, museums are wising up to the activists’ tricks.
Guards at the Musée d’Orsay successfully thwarted a woman wearing a Just Stop Oil t-shirt and carrying a water bottle filled with soup on October 27. They disarmed her of her water bottle and she exited the building before any police had to be called to the scene.
The intervention suggested that museum guards were getting better at spotting who in a crowd might strike.
After Monet’s Haystacks was attacked with mashed potatoes on October 22, the Museum Barberini closed for five days while it heightened security measures.
Christina Haak, deputy director-general of the Berlin State Museums, said that her staff have already received extensive training and workshops, since the attacks first started.
Though most museums don’t share details about security matters as a policy, some of the measures being enforced will be immediately obvious to the visiting public.
As of November 4, Berlin museums and the Barberini in Potsdam will require visitors to store all jackets and bags in lockers before entering, with exceptions for medicine and childcare. Previously. bags up to size A4 had been permitted. Now, Haak explained, “we know from the incidents that some of the equipment that people carried in for the attacks was in very small bags.”
Beate Reifenscheid, chair of the International Council of Museums in Germany, speculated that phones and cameras may also eventually need to be confiscated. “The public awareness is mostly spread by the internet and social media.”
Even though the attacks have been concentrated in Western Europe, museums internationally are also starting to pay closer attention.
John Barelli, a security adviser to cultural institutions who was previously chief security officer at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, recalled introducing back checks after 9/11.
“Over a five- or six-year period, vandalism went down because we checked people at the entrances,” he said. “It’s definitely a deterrent. People don’t know how exactly they’re going to get searched so they’ll probably go elsewhere.”
He also suggested having plainclothes officers patrol with a careful eye for would-be attackers. “They usually come in twos and threes and somebody is taking a video. They may have some type of banner… a lot of them are young. Age may be something that they can look at.”
“Institutions should not assume their guards, docents, visitor services staff, and the like are all aware of what is going on and have seen the videos on social media,” said the director of security,at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Anthony Amore. “Rather, they should carefully examine every bit of the modus operandi of the protestors and educate their teams as to what to look for from potential attackers.”
There are also patterns in terms of the type of paintings that have so far been targeted. Many are Impressionist or post-Impressionist, which likely reflects a desire to make headlines by going for universally cherished masterpieces.
Security teams looking to concentrate their efforts could perhaps lower occupancy in certain rooms or put up stronger barriers over specific works.
“A lot of museums do not like to put glass over the painting because it distorts the beauty,” said Barelli.
Most experts did not think it was particularly likely that the attacks would escalate to artworks that aren’t protected by glass.
“They really want to get attention but they don’t want to get in trouble,” Barelli suggested. “It’s not a very serious offence, in the U.S. anyway, if nothing is damaged. If somebody slashed a painting it’d be very serious and they would probably get jail time.”
Other museum officials are far from comforted by this prospect. “As Victoria Reed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, pointed out, the protestors haven’t the technical knowledge to assess whether a painting will be harmed by their actions,” said Amore. “And, of course, the frames—which are also works of art—are susceptible to damage.”
Then there’s the fear of copycat acts of vandalism unconnected to climate protests and not planned in the same way. Some suspect this happened already on October 30, when an assailant who has not so far been linked to any climate group threw fake blood at Clown by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Most of the experts who spoke to Artnet News agreed that the major institutions that have so far been targeted should be capable of rising to the challenge with their existing resources.
However, “it can be incredibly hard to prevent a determined adversary who wants to cause harm in some way, shape or form,” said Jordan Arnold, global chair of the risk management firm K2’s private client services. “To the extent that security and insurance costs begin to increase across the board, it could deeply impact available funding for other aspects of a museum’s operation.”
“Museums should support and advertise their commitment to renewable energy and adopting green practices,” suggested Frank A. Demes of Security Risk Management Consultants. “Some museums have adopted LEED certification in an effort to save water, reduce greenhouse gasses, improve efficiencies and save money. Progressive and interactive programs can be adopted to shed light on the climate crisis and educate the public.”
Museums are “open, safe spaces”, said Christina Haak. “In order not to turn museums into high-security areas like airports, it’s now important for us to find a balance between security measures that protect our visitors and artworks and preserving museums as places of freedom.”
“Absolute security cannot and never will exist for the objects because otherwise we’d have to put them in storerooms and let nobody in.”
“I’m of the opinion that the international community of museums must now embrace the new role of museums as a site of social protest,” said Haak, by combining the task of preserving and presenting cultural heritage with becoming “lively places of public discourse, but not a protest platform. That’s a challenge, I must say.”
The recent spate of climate protests at museums across Europe have involved cheap tricks that use everyday items like glue, tomato soup and mashed potatoes. But this doesn’t mean they don’t come at a high cost, with some activists in Germany now facing fines.
Just last week mashed potato was thrown at a painting by Claude Monet at the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, an incident which is estimated to cost the museum up to five-figures thanks to necessary repairs to the work’s historical frame and the gallery’s adjacent wall.
Its director Ortrud Westheider has announced that he is considering pursuing a claim against the protestors for damages, according to Monopol Magazin.
The founder of the German museum, Hasso Plattner, has decided to close the institution until October 30 in order to evaluate the efficacy of protections currently in place.
On August 23, two climate activists from the German group Letzte Generation (Last Generation) glued their hands to the frame of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna at the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden. While the picture itself was unharmed, the action left behind traces of glue and damaged the patination of the frame in areas where the hands had rested.
The museum had to be closed temporarily, resulting in a loss of income of €7,000 ($7,000), and the work was removed for a restoration treatment that could amount to as much as €5,000 ($5,000).
Presumably hoping to recoup these costs, the Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden or SKD) has filed a complaint with the city’s public prosecutor’s office, citing “damage to property that is harmful to the community” and has initiated civil proceedings for damages.
The two protesters have also been banned from all 15 of the SKD’s museums.
Despite the risk of receiving a fine, attacks like these show no signs of slowing down.
Last week, on October 19, 14 activists from the environmentalist group Scientist Rebellion staged a sit-in protest at Volkswagen’s Autostadt museum in Wolfsburg, gluing themselves to the floor of a Porsche display. The protestors called for a meeting with Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume and for speed limits of 100 kilometers per hour to be imposed in Germany.
The museum recognized their right to protest so the scientists were not removed by the authorities and instead were left on the premises overnight, only to be cleared from the scene early on Friday morning (October 21). The museum released a statement reporting that the action had resulted in property damage.
“The Autostadt is known as a meeting place for people from all over the world and as a platform for communicative exchange and is always open to factual criticism,”read the statement. “With this basic attitude, we strived for a de-escalation and actively tried to engage in constructive dialogue.”
The museum stated that it had been forced to clear the pavilion when the sitters threatened a hunger strike and their health began to suffer.
On Twitter, Scientist Rebellion stated that “Volkswagen is not keen on too much attention for their climate failure. Quietly, before people arrived at Autostadt, they called in police to remove the peacefully protesting scientists.”
Reposted from AAM
Over the past decade, conversations about accessibility have increased within the museum field, and many organizations including AAM have identified it as a priority. There is not, however, a straightforward and approachable blueprint for increasing accessibility, meaning the museum workers tasked with doing so are often left wondering, “How do I get started?”
Heather Pressman and Danielle Schulz wrote The Art of Access: A Practical Guide for Museum Accessibility to answer this question and support museum practitioners on their accessibility journeys, regardless of the size, budget, or scope of their museum, by providing a range of starting points. Here we share three main guiding principles that every museum, regardless of size or focus, should keep at the forefront. Additionally, we highlight the work of three museums—The Henry Ford, the Intrepid Museum, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art—to shine a light on exciting ways accessibility and inclusion have been integrated into programs and evaluated.
When engaging diverse audiences, simply putting up a welcome sign is not enough. Meaningful inclusion entails opportunities for members of disability communities to advise on and design accessible public programs, exhibitions, and spaces from the very beginning. People with disabilities should be the ones leading the conversation about their own interests and needs, a principle summed up in the expression “nothing about us without us.”
When this is not the case, and outsider perspectives and opinions (however well-meaning) overshadow the conversation, it can perpetuate stereotypes and misconceptions that only cause further barriers to access these spaces and programs. To avoid this, museums only need to follow practices they have used with other visitor groups for years, such as organizing advisory committees, focus groups, and community panels. Just as parents can give feedback on the effectiveness of a family gallery game, wheelchair users can identify inaccessible routes within a gallery, or a neurodiverse visitor can inform the ideal location of a quiet space. Be sure to talk to multiple people with disabilities in the process, however—no one person can speak on behalf of everyone.
There is a range of ways to approach this undertaking, depending on the scale of the museum’s needs and resources. On the more time- and resource-intensive (yet higher-return) end is convening an advisory committee that meets anywhere from monthly to quarterly to provide regular input on museum policies, practices, and long-term strategic guidance. An ideal accessibility advisory committee consists of people with diverse experiences and abilities (who are compensated for their time) who can bring to the table both a level of community expertise as well as an interest in being a change agent within the museum. In the middle of the continuum, requiring moderate resources yet yielding a fair amount of impact, is populating already existing advisory committees or focus groups with people from different disability communities, a significant identity group that is often overlooked in recruitment. Finally, on the least intensive end of the continuum is simply asking for feedback, then listening. Create an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) whose sole purpose is to receive questions and concerns about accessibility supports and barriers. Business cards with this address can be printed and stored at your front desk, even carried by staff, for easy and far-reaching distribution to visitors. This should be promoted widely on your website and marketing materials so as to encourage usage, and ideally monitored regularly and by more than one person who can respond to this feedback in a timely, respectful, and honest manner.
Tapping into diverse disability communities as content experts can be extremely helpful to building a better museum. Oftentimes ideas unearthed during feedback sessions or submitted as general inquiries can lead to important learning opportunities for—and changes to—the entire museum.
Sometimes, often unknowingly and with the best of intentions, people use words or phrases in everyday conversations that are ableist, meaning insulting or discriminating to people with disabilities. Very often, ableist words show up in the language museum staff use to speak about people with disabilities and the programs or support materials they use. This can come in the form of euphemisms intended as niceties that are actually patronizing and divisive. For example, this can include describing bathrooms and parking spots as “handicapped” rather than accessible, using overly negative terms like physically or mentally “challenged,” describing people as “suffering from” or “afflicted with” their disabilities, and calling support materials or accommodations “special” items. It can also include using the words “normal” or “regular” to refer to people without disabilities or their experiences and needs. The same goes for avoiding made-up terms that are a substitute for disability, like “differently abled” or “handi-capable.” Disability is not a negative word, and using euphemisms or substitutes only succeeds in reinforcing the stigma around disability as something to be ashamed of. Disability should be valued as an equal, and valued, aspect of the diversity of our visitors.
Avoiding ableist language is sometimes easier said than done, as perceptions of what language is most inclusive are constantly shifting. Five years ago, for instance, person-first language (speaking of the person first and the disability second, e.g. “a person with autism”) was considered best practice, while now identity-first language (describing a person’s identity as closely tied to their disability, e.g. “an autistic person”) has increased in popularity. Museums can maintain inclusive communication by keeping up to date with research and writings by disability and social justice advocates and regularly reviewing any written materials for negative or outdated terminology or euphemisms.
In a museum, accessibility is everyone’s responsibility. Really. Frontline staff need to be prepared to field requests for sensory equipment. IT or digital staff need to ensure the museum website is accessible. Educators need to ensure that every child can participate in a field trip. Evaluators need to meet visitors of all abilities where they are to learn why they are coming to their museum and what they need to be able to engage.
The list goes on, and so does the list of resources necessary to fulfill these tasks: funds to purchase sensory support materials, hire website audit specialists, pay ASL interpreters for focus group facilitation. This is not to say that accessibility must be expensive, but it must be expansive. There are low-cost and free ways to make museums more accessible, which we share more in our book, but this mindset of shared responsibility for accessibility is the bigger takeaway.
Even if you cannot make the case for allocating financial support across a variety of departmental budgets, how can you bring together a cross-departmental group to both discuss the successes and weaknesses of your museum’s accessibility practice and share the expertise and knowledge that abound in your staff? Considering that one in four people have a disability, there are very likely people on your staff who either themselves have a disability or know and love someone who does. How can you harness this shared knowledge and lived experience?
Furthermore, learning from other colleagues and organizations and their unique accessibility journeys can help guide and motivate the work we all do. In this dynamic field where terminology and best practices are constantly shifting and developing, no single person or organization could possibly possess all the information. For that reason, we’ve gathered some examples from across the field of museums doing exceptional accessibility work, and gotten them to share how they’ve done it. We hope hearing about their journeys will help you start yours toward welcoming people with disabilities into your museum in a truly inclusive way.
In 2015, The Henry Ford created its first accessibility-focused position, signaling its commitment to build an intentional accessibility program for its community. As of today, the museum offers about fifty accessible programs per year, including touch tours and virtual verbal description programs for people who are blind or have low vision, sensory-friendly events for people who are on the autism spectrum, and programs for people who are living with dementia and their care partners.
Collecting feedback on these programs was challenging at first. At the sensory-friendly events, for instance, asking attendees to fill out a paper survey before leaving did not lead to much feedback. Attendees were often distracted or in a hurry, and there was no email list for a post-visit survey, as the events were open to anyone without registration. To help get the feedback staff needed, the museum formed an Autism Advisory Group in 2017. This group, which comprises parents and teachers of individuals with autism, as well as several individuals who are themselves on the autism spectrum, shares thoughts and suggestions for sensory-friendly events. Group members have even walked with The Henry Ford staff through several events beforehand to identify potential sensory triggers.
Eventually, the events changed to requiring pre-registration, allowing staff to send pre-visit materials and a post-event survey. This saw a much higher response rate than the paper survey, most likely because attendees could respond on their own time. Over the years, the surveys have asked various open-ended questions: “What were the positives of your visit?” “What could be improved upon for next time?” “What impact does the availability of sensory-friendly offerings have on your family/group?” and “What topics/themes would you like to see in future programs?” Staff have received some heart-warming affirmations, such as, “For many of us parents of children on the spectrum, just having a safe space to let our children be themselves is amazing. … Being at an event that is designed for our children brings a level of comfort we can’t get at ordinary events,” as well as some incredibly valuable feedback they have been putting into action.
The Henry Ford charged admission for the first several sensory-friendly events; however, feedback from both the surveys and the advisory group drove home the importance of keeping tickets at a low cost or free. Not only is affordability an inherent issue for many families, but many also do not know how long their family member(s) with autism will be able to last at an event before needing to leave, meaning the investment in admission can be difficult to justify. As one attendee commented, “The fact that these events are offered at no cost is a game changer. … There is no pressure to ‘get our money’s worth’ and so we can enjoy what my son can tolerate and leave without regrets.” This feedback inspired the museum to apply for a successful IMLS grant, a large portion of which now provides free admission to the sensory-friendly events.
Feedback has changed numerous other aspects of how sensory-friendly events are formatted and implemented, from including start/end times for each activity on visual schedules that are sent in advance, to setting comfortable sound and light levels, to sending reminders to bring a sweater to air-conditioned events, to checking people in on a list for some of the events rather than giving them paper tickets.
Overall, the feedback that The Henry Ford has received on its sensory-friendly programming has been significant to the success of these programs. It has helped ensure that they are meeting their audience’s needs and incorporating their interests. Staff look forward to continuing to use feedback as much as possible to help plan programming in the years to come.
Designing for accessibility can be particularly challenging for historic sites, which have to balance preserving spaces not originally built with accessibility in mind with serving and welcoming the public today.
Centered on a landmarked 1943 aircraft carrier, with collections including a submarine and a Concorde, the Intrepid Museum is full of potential physical and sensory barriers to access. Regardless, when we began our accessibility journey more than ten years ago, it was imperative to start somewhere, deciding on the first step and taking it. We began by considering the institution’s strengths and seeking direct feedback from audiences. For example, when the museum reopened after an extensive renovation, educators began noticing that self-contained classes of students with developmental disabilities were booking guided school programs even though the museum did not have programs specifically designed for them. Through conversations with teachers and colleagues, and, later on, through surveys, educators learned more about the appeal of the museum for these groups and created more customized programs and approaches for these groups. They also began offering free American Sign Language-interpreted (and ASL-led) tours, as well as verbal description and touch tours to both individuals and groups. These initial programs have grown to a robust menu of specialized public and by-request programs, as well as more general inclusive public programs with accessibility baked in.
Accessibility is about more than specialized or inclusive programs, however, and considerations around infrastructure, exhibitions, and customer service have also increased over time. As part of the museum’s renovation, for instance, elevators and lifts were added to a few key areas to reduce (though not fully resolve) barriers to physical access. The exhibits and facilities teams also followed guidelines for auditory and visual accessibility by installing hearing loops in the box office and at audio features around the museum, adding captioning to videos with sound, and following best practices for lighting and for the size, color, contrast, etc. of print labels and signs. Visitor Services and other front-of-house staff also have training sessions throughout the year on welcoming visitors with disabilities, helping to decrease potential attitudinal barriers and to ensure that staff know the choices they can provide visitors.
Evaluation has been essential to each of these steps toward increasing accessibility at the Intrepid Museum. As part of an initial seed grant to develop sensory-friendly programming for children with autism and their families, the museum brought in the non-profit consultant group Autism Friendly Spaces to conduct initial assessments and provide feedback on pilot programs and set up a Parent Advisory Council. The council provided in-depth feedback on planned and past programs and later helped advise on the development of resources for all visitors, such as a general social narrative, a sensory guide and sensory kit, and a specialized maker camp for children with developmental disabilities. Several years ago, we recognized a glaring gap in our council of adult self-advocates, so we started recruiting for them to join as well and renamed the group the Autism Advisory Council.
We also send surveys to program participants, which provide insights from a wider range of people. As the museum moved into creating more physical environments and interactive elements with the hope to be accessible to all, staff began employing prototypes, user testing, and focus groups. When developing a permanent, accessible exhibit about the technology and history of the submarine Growler, for example, they conceived an exhibit element that would let people feel the subtle vibrations of a moving submarine. Partners from the Stevens Institute of Technology helped construct a prototype. User testers were drawn from various groups, including the NYC chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America, local advocates of people who are blind or have low vision, and members of the Autism Advisory Council.
More recently, the museum began work with the NYU Ability Project under an IMLS Leadership Grant on developing accessible sensory tools for interpreting historic sites. In this project, NYU and the Intrepid Museum worked with seven historic sites to identify access challenges, prototype solutions and, through the process, develop a toolkit which will be freely shared. Advisors included leadership from Access Smithsonian and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Also enlisted in the process were disability advocates, the majority of whom are also self-advocates, who gave feedback and insights for the historic sites.
As we continue to work toward a more accessible and inclusive museum, our evaluation efforts increasingly engage the self-advocates throughout the process. Building off of the Autism Advisory Council and our work with self-advocates on the sensory tools project and exhibit prototyping, we are pursuing and setting aside funds to compensate user/experts for their time and expertise when sharing more extensive feedback. For example, thanks to support from the FAR Fund, Autism Advisory Council members will receive an honorarium for attending quarterly meetings, in addition to the year of family membership they already receive for meeting the minimum requirements. Similar honoraria will also be provided for other user/experts who participate in in-depth or repeated evaluations of upcoming projects, such as an “Innovation Deck” (maker space) or online mobile guide, at different stages. Likewise, for the museum’s upcoming web redesign project, we are contracting with the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) to provide guidance and feedback throughout the development process, including from their team of web accessibility experts and from their pool of disabled user/experts.
Accessibility work, especially in historic sites, is always a work in progress. At the Intrepid Museum, basic evaluation work helped kickstart our efforts and has only continued to enrich our work as we engage more deeply and regularly with our diverse disability communities.
When the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art began to engage community partners for our d/Deaf* Culture Project, we received feedback that the Nelson-Atkins was a “hearing person’s museum.” While we intend to create an inclusive museum as an institution, our community was nonetheless telling us that they did not feel the space included them.
Funded by a three-year grant from IMLS, The d/Deaf Culture Project is a suite of interrelated products and activities designed to provide quality and accessible programs for visitors who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing (d/DHH). We engaged Garibay Group to conduct a summative evaluation using a culturally responsive approach. Evaluation activities included focus groups, on-site survey intercepts, on-site interview intercepts, and participatory data analysis and feedback sessions. In practical terms, this meant:
Making evaluation accessible was not as easy as consulting a checklist and implementing accommodations. A major part of the work included consulting with experts in d/DHH accommodations. Luckily, as part of the project, we were able to hire a program coordinator who was a member of the local d/Deaf community, Lucy Crabtree. Already established community partnerships were expanded to serve as an advisory panel throughout the project and beyond. By implementing reflective practices, we were able to create several products and activities with the help of our advisory panel. The museum began to use CART captioning for programming, lectures, and webinars. We hired art teachers fluent in ASL and implemented monthly in-person and virtual ASL tours. Products that were adjusted due to partner feedback include filming of ASL vlogs (video blogs featuring staff and community members that introduce visitors to the museum and galleries), ASL video guides (ASL narration of artworks in the museum collection to provide an immersive in-gallery experience), and the creation of a Teacher Advisory Board. Most importantly, we heard from our partners that more emphasis should be placed on the annual Deaf Cultural Festival as a focal point for engagement.
Staff and partners involved in this project needed to recognize our limitations, implicit biases, and knowledge of the subject we were addressing. By prioritizing reflective, sustainable practices and implementing consistent partner-driven analysis activities and products we can shift and change to create a truly collaborative experience for all that can be continued into the future.
More than a quarter of U.S. adults say they are so stressed most days that they can’t function, according to a survey from the American Psychological Association (APA). So, what’s the source of this stress? Everything.
Nearly two in five adults (37 percent) reported that when they are stressed, they can’t bring themselves to do anything, the survey found, and around a fifth of adults reported forgetfulness (21 percent), an inability to concentrate (20 percent), and difficulty making decisions (17 percent) in the past month due to stress. For adults under the age of 35, 46 percent said they are so stressed they cannot function, and that rate is even worse for Black adults under 35—with 56 percent reporting debilitating stress levels.
Stress can be overwhelming for many people—even when they can still function through it. Adults ages 18 to 34 and 35 to 44 were more likely than older counterparts to report feeling overwhelmed by stress most days. Younger women in particular face high stress levels, with 62 percent of women ages 18 to 24 reporting they felt completely overwhelmed by stress most of the time, the APA found. Furthermore, 25 percent of U.S. adults reported that in the prior month, they often felt difficulties were piling up so high that they could be overcome, and 30 percent of adults said they were so stressed they feel numb.
“Consistent with psychological science, results from this poll revealed that when adults are feeling stressed, around three-quarters (76 percent) reported there are aspects of their lives that were negatively impacted. Specifically, their mental health (36 percent), eating habits (33 percent), physical health (32 percent), and interest in hobbies/activities (30 percent) were among the top aspects negatively impacted by stress,” according to Stress in America 2022, the APA survey. Psychological research on both humans and nonhuman animals revealed that the effects of stress on the brain, immune system, our gene expression, susceptibility to physical illness, mental illness, and subsequently on people’s ability to engage in necessary daily tasks can be long lasting, and even intergenerational.”
Stress levels are also impacting job engagement, found the Conference Board. Survey results released in October showed that a third of U.S. workers report decreased engagement, even though 82 percent say their level of effort on the job is at the same level or higher. In addition, more workers want to quit their jobs, but few are planning to do so because of fears about a looming recession.
What factors are driving these heightened stress levels? The APA singled out four key areas.
The survey found that 70 percent of U.S. adults do not think people in the government care about them, and 64 percent said they feel their rights are under attack. This sentiment is so high that 38 percent of U.S. adults have considered moving to a different country in response to the current political environment.
Specific demographic groups were more likely to feel that their rights were under attack, especially members of the LGBTQ+ community (72 percent) and adults with a disability (68 percent). Women were more likely than men to say they do not feel protected by U.S. laws (49 percent vs. 40 percent).
“Our children are going to inherit a better world than we did.” Would you agree with this statement? Most U.S. adults (62 percent) did not. In addition, 63 percent disagreed with the statement, “I feel our country is on the path to being stronger than ever.”
The future of the United States was a significant source of stress for 76 percent of adults, and 66 percent said the current political climate is a significant source of stress in their lives. Furthermore, 68 percent said this is the lowest point in U.S. history that they can remember.
Social schisms are also stressors. Among Black adults, 75 percent said the racial climate is a significant source of stress, compared to 56 percent of white adults.
Many survey respondents said that race relations (41 percent), women’s rights (38 percent), and LGBTQ+ rights (30 percent) are getting worse in America.
Money is often a stressor, and when inflation enters the arena, it exacerbates concerns, the APA found. The vast majority of U.S. adults surveyed (83 percent) said inflation is a source of stress right now, and for 55 percent of those people feeling stressed by money, finances have been a cause of fights or tension in their family, compared to 41 percent of the general population.
Adults with an annual household income of less than $50,000 were more likely than those with a household income of $50,000 or more to say the main source of stress is having enough money to pay for things in the present, such as rent or a mortgage (72 percent vs. 48 percent).
More than half of all U.S. adults surveyed (56 percent) said they or their families had to make different choices during the past month due to a lack of money.
Violence, crime, mass shootings, and gun violence are significant stressors for 75 percent of U.S. adults, especially Latinx adults (83 percent), the APA found.
Three-quarters of adults agreed that mass shootings were a significant source of stress, and women were more likely than men to say mass shootings were a stressor for them (78 percent vs. 69 percent). Women were also more likely to consider gun violence in general a significant stressor (75 percent vs. 69 percent), and Black women and Latinas were more likely to cite this.
Reposted from ArtNews
On Sunday, fake blood was hurled at a painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in a Berlin museum, in an incident reminiscent of recent climate protests, though officials have yet to release a motivation for the attack. The individual, who was taken into police custody, also glued themselves to the wall beside the work.
The work, titled Clown, is being examined in the Alte Nationalgalerie’s restoration workshop. The head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Hermann Parzinger, said in a statement that the painting was not significantly damaged.
“I am shocked by this further senseless attack on art, which in this case obviously cannot be assigned to any climate-politically active group,” he told the news agency dpa. He added that the museum staff will “continue to do everything we can to protect the art in our collections while keeping them accessible with as few barriers as possible.”
The incident seemed to share similarities with climate actions by the group Letzte Generation, which earlier this month splashed mashed potatoes across a Claude Monet painting in Postdam. Their tactics draw on protests led by the U.K.-based group Just Stop Oil, which has garnered attention because its activists have glued themselves to paintings.
Just Stop Oil protesters threw tomato soup on Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery. Last week, an activist wearing a Just Stop Oil shirt attempted to glue his head to Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring as another protestor attempted to pour red liquid over him.
The Alte Nationalgalerie incident happened on the same day that members of Letzte Generation pasted themselves to the handrails beside a dinosaur skeleton at Berlin’s Natural History Museum. The group said in a statement that, “just like the dinosaurs back then, we are threatened with climate changes that we cannot withstand. If we don’t want to see ourselves threatened with extinction, we must act now.”
The Alte Nationalgalerie is closed today for cleaning and will reopen on Tuesday. Charges for trespassing and property damage have been filed in both cases in Berlin.
Reposted from Blooloop
Hamburger Bahnhof, a contemporary art gallery in Berlin, has turned off its Dan Flavin work for the first time in 26 years in response to the energy crisis.
The neon work of art usually illuminates the facade of the museum’s building, but in a bid to save money on energy costs, Hamburger Bahnhof has turned off the lights.
The artwork, which features green and blue fluorescent tubes, has greeted guests since the gallery opened in 1996.
“It is important that we as an internationally renowned museum set an example in the current situation and make our contribution to saving scarce resources,” the institution’s co-directors Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath said in a joint statement.
“We hope that this difficult step for us will also inspire rethinking sustainable museumplanning in general.”
The museum’s decision comes after an announcement in July by Bettina Jarasch, Berlin’s senator for the environment, that the architectural lighting for the city’s monuments would be shut off to conserve power.
These include the Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column. The rules currently only apply to public buildings. However, private cultural organisations including Hamburger Bahnhof and the Julia Stoschek Foundation are doing the same.
“Anyone that has a public voice, whether in a small organization, or the Hamburger Bahnhof as the national gallery of contemporary art, has the responsibility to use it wisely in contributing to the general questions of the society it operates in,” Fellrath told The Art Newspaper.
“In that sense, we do see it as one of our main tasks to lead the discourse on issues of sustainability, diversity, and inclusion.”
“We are sure that many museums are asking similar questions at the moment, lastly also due the skyrocketing energy prices that will have a significant impact on cultural funding at large,” he added.
Currently, the Flavin installation is set to be switched off until the end of March 2023.
Reposted from AZ Central
Six years before a valuable Willem de Kooning painting was stolen in 1985, the director of the University of Arizona Museum of Art warned that security needed to be beefed up at the small museum.
But university administrators, who have since retired, didn't act on those warnings, according to memos obtained by The Arizona Republic as part of a public-records request.
Museum officials on May 8, 1979, requested that additional police officers be assigned to the building, cautioning that:
"The museum's good fortune in avoiding major theft or vandalism so far is strictly a matter of luck," the memo said. "As the art museum becomes better known, this luck will quickly dissipate."
"Woman-Ochre" is now back at the museum after being discovered in a New Mexico estate sale in 2017. And the university is once again faced with safeguarding a treasure even more famous and more valuable than when it was stolen.
In the years the painting went missing, works by the Dutch-American artist de Kooning exploded in value. University officials are no longer publicly releasing a value, though as recently as 2015 "Woman-Ochre" was valued at up to $160 million.
$100M de Kooning painting returned:How a museum is honoring those who brought it home
The 1979 memo which was copied to then-UA President John Paul Schaefer, requested that two members of the campus security force be on duty during operating hours as a "minimal ounce of prevention."
But when the de Kooning painting was stolen in 1985, it was common to have only one University of Arizona police officer on duty at the museum, according to subsequent memos.
When the theft occurred, it was the day after Thanksgiving and only one campus security officer was present at the museum. Two student workers were on duty. But no staffer was in the second-floor gallery when "Woman-Ochre," was cut from its wooden frame. Like many small museums at the time, there was no video-camera system to capture the theft.
Museum officials acknowledged security lapses. The museum's director, Peter Bermingham, pushed university administrators for more funding for more security officers, TV cameras and gallery attendants.
In a memo written a few days after the theft, he reminded then-Provost Nils Hasselmo of "several recent conferences" about the need to improve security that had been held with "various university officials (prior to the theft)."
Failure to take action could jeopardize the museum's ability to borrow art from other museums for special exhibits, he warned, and could hurt the museum's ability to get donations.
Hasselmo initially rejected the request, citing "strapped" resources for the current year in a December 20, 1985 memo. He suggested the museum curtail hours instead. Bermingham replied that cutting back hours would have no effect on security quality during open hours.
Hasselmo later agreed to a modified proposal.
Seven months after the theft, in June 1986, the museum installed a new security system. Upgrades included a $24,000 closed-circuit television system, as well as hiring two full-time security guards and several part-timers, rather than relying on University Police.
The administrators named in the 1980s memos have long since retired; Hasselmo and Bermingham are no longer alive. Schaefer, the former university president from 1971-1982, said in a recent interview with The Republic that he didn't recall memos related to museum security.
"That was a long time ago," he said, adding he was no longer president when the 1985 theft occurred.
The "Woman-Ochre" theft remains infamous in museum security circles.
On Nov. 29, 1985, a man and a woman walked into the University of Arizona Museum of Art as the building opened.
It was a holiday week with only a few staffers on hand.
Police believe the woman distracted the single security officer while the man walked upstairs and cut the valuable de Kooning painting out of its frame. Unobserved, he rolled up the canvas, stuffed it under his winter jacket and the couple fled in a rust-colored sports car.
John Barelli, who oversaw security at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Artfor 30 years, described the de Kooning crime as a "theft of opportunity."
"It was an opportunity and — boom — they took it," he said in a recent interview.
University police enlisted the help of the FBI and released a composite sketch of the suspects. But within months, the investigation hit a dead end.
The painting vanished for 31 years, until it was discovered in 2017 in the home of a deceased, elderly New Mexico couple in an estate sale.
When "Woman-Ochre" was recovered, the university covered the cost of installing a new camera system, said Olivia Miller, the museum's interim director and curator.
The museum increased security in preparation for the painting's return to exhibit, she said. She declined to discuss security costs but said ongoing costs, such as security staffing, are part of the museum's annual budget and are supported by a combination of funding sources, including state funding, museum endowments, and admission fees. The museum has a total annual budget of about $1 million.
She declined to discuss the increased security measures except for one detail that is visibly apparent:
"Woman-Ochre" and its original wooden frame are encased in a clear, acrylic display case using museum-quality material known as Optium Museum Acrylic.
"It might not always be in a case forever," Miller said. "But we think that just given its history, given what it's been through, given what the museum has been through, it's a step we just needed to take."
National security experts say acrylic cases, or glass, over paintings are increasingly common, especially on smaller paintings that thieves could try to smuggle out.
One of the world's most famous paintings, the "Mona Lisa," on exhibit at the Louvre Museum in Paris, is protected by bulletproof glass. The protection came in handy last summer when a man disguised as an old woman jumped out of a wheelchair and smeared cake across the glass.
More recently, climate protesters threw soup at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London’s National Gallery, causing minor damage to the frame but leaving the glass-covered painting unharmed.
UA museum officials said it was important to display "Woman-Ochre" in the original wooden frame the painting was cut from in 1985. That simple frame wouldn't accommodate an insert of acrylic or glass into the frame so they had to encase both the painting and frame in acrylic.
The Republic contacted three national experts on museum security, who aren't involved in the university's security plans but are familiar with how museums safeguard their paintings.
Steve Keller, a museum security expert based in Florida, who helped write national security recommendations for museums, said the protection for paintings has changed dramatically since the 1980s. The de Kooning theft "would have been much harder to pull off" with current security technology, he said.
Brazen thefts, like the de Kooning heist, aren't common, according to Rob Layne, vice president of Layne Consultants International in Denver. But to prevent them, museums typically have a range of protections.
Here are security measures commonly used at museums today:
Video surveillance, digital video and cameras with monitoring capabilities are some of the biggest advancements in museum security. Video analytics are computer software that allows museums to monitor and analyze video surveillance. The painting and the area surrounding the painting are programmed into the software. If this image is disturbed by someone getting too close to the painting or touching it, an alarm goes off.
Barelli, the New York City security consultant, said he would place cameras in places where they were visible to visitors — to act as a deterrent against theft or vandalism— and also in locations where they weren't visible to capture any attempted vandalism or theft.
Radio-frequency identification, known as RFID technology for short, uses radio waves to keep track of paintings, sculptures or rare books. Tiny RFID tags are affixed to the art. An alarm triggers if someone moves a painting from its location.
Global Position Devices are often used when art is loaned to other museums or has to travel. A tracking device attached to the painting's wooden crate sends a satellite signal that is processed by a receiver. Museum security can see the location of the GPS device and its movements, allowing them to track the art in real-time.
GPS was used to track "Woman-Ochre" in September when the painting traveled 500 miles back to Tucson from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles where it had been undergoing restoration. Museum officials also kept in contact by text and phone with a museum staffer who rode along with the painting in the truck. The truck was further escorted by two SUVs filled with a half-dozen officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Security staff, visitors and volunteers are a critical part of museum security. Experts say it doesn't matter how much an organization spends on technology if the staffing structure isn't there to support it. In-house security is common at many museums. Contract security guards are brought in as supplements for special events when more people are milling through the galleries.
At an evening reception to celebrate "Woman-Ochre" on Oct. 7, The Republic counted at least four security guards — dressed in elegant suits and equipped with earpieces — in the first-floor gallery with the painting. More security guards lingered outside the gallery's entrance and exit.
At least two University of Arizona police officers were on hand in the lobby, dressed in uniforms and bulletproof vests.
On that evening, "Woman-Ochre" wasn't going anywhere.
And when the exhibit opened to the public the next day, there was an added level of protection.
"Woman-Ochre" was already behind an acrylic glass case.
Let’s be clear: physical security infrastructure is the target of many cyber criminals. IP cameras, access control systems, visitor kiosks, and related systems are by their nature attractive targets because they have compute, storage, and networking (as traditional IT systems do).
But because they are Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the solutions used to secure IT systems simply won’t work for them. Once breached, physical security systems can enable many other forms of attack on an organization, including planting ransomware, launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, exfiltrating sensitive data, and potentially putting control of security systems in the hands of criminals.
Especially as the ability to create deepfakes based on real video footage becomes more sophisticated, ensuring that physical security data is untampered and suitable to be used as evidence adds to the focus on hardening physical security systems.
During the last few years, studies and industry security alerts have shown that most organizations do not sufficiently harden and protect physical security systems. Just ask yourself: Are all your camera devices on the latest and most secure version of firmware? Are your device passwords maintained and unique in accordance with your corporate policies? Are any of your devices authenticated using 802.1x certificates, or having traffic between devices encrypted using TLS/SSL certificates?
If you answered no to most of these questions, it suggests that you’re at high risk of your physical security systems being breached and exploited.
Hardening physical security systems is hard! The starting point is identifying all the devices on your network, something that many security teams struggle with because of the scale of devices, their locations, and the long-lived nature of IP cameras. Whether using an IoT security platform that can do it for you, or by using a dedicated asset discovery solution, a complete inventory will drive all efforts in hardening those systems.
Another factor that makes physical security systems more difficult to protect is the heterogenous nature of such systems. Very few organizations have just one make or model for cameras; most have several types, all with unique mechanisms for updating and securing them. Also complicating hardening devices is how they are often on isolated—or segmented—networks.
Reaching across multiple network segments to access the devices requires specialized technology, otherwise a lot of manual effort is consumed securing devices one network segment at a time.
Despite the barriers listed above, there are now more automated and purpose-built solutions to harden physical security—and in general IoT/OT—devices. The key functions of these automated systems are to:
One advantage physical security teams have in implementing more rigorous methods for hardening their devices is that those systems are the most prolific and widespread IoT/Operational Technology (OT) devices in most organizations. As IoT/OT security becomes more visible at all levels of the organization, it is an opportunity for physical security organizations to take the lead corporatewide on IoT/OT security.
Since cybersecurity is a team sport, who should your teammates be? One best practice is to form an IoT Committee within your organization, with members from the CISO/CIO staff, as well as departments that manage IoT/OT devices like manufacturing, facilities, and logistics.
Organizations who have already formed such teams have also found an important side benefit: the processes used to monitor and harden physical security systems provide important data to other parts of the organization (compliance and audit, cyber insurance negotiations, public reporting, and so forth), increasing the strategic value of the physical security team.
By 2024, more than 75 percent of CEOs will be personally liable for cyber breaches, according to predictions and analysis from Gartner. Keeping your CEO and board of directors informed and aware of the efforts to harden physical security and IoT/OT systems will help to ensure that resources are made available to be successful in preventing cyber criminals from exploiting these systems.
Finally, consider making hardening your physical security into an industry issue: engage with others in your industry who share these same problems. During the last few years, several industry-level organizations—both existing and new—have made sharing best practices and information on threats more efficient and robust.
For example, the Real Estate Cyber Consortium publishes detailed information and guidelines on hardening and securing physical security and IoT systems specific to the commercial real estate business. Check within your industry if that exists or consider forming one because the types and methods of attacks will be similar across the industry and collectively the sector will be more resilient from that effort.
Whether through deploying automated cyber hygiene and service assurance solutions, documenting and sharing best practices, or fostering internal coordination across multiple departments, now is the time to take action.
Reposted from The Observer
Two climate activists were arrested after throwing tomato soup on a Vincent Van Gogh painting hanging in London’s National Gallery and gluing themselves to the exhibit wall.
The demonstration, which took place this morning (Oct. 14), is the latest escalation in a series of protests across Europe which have art institutions rethinking security protocols and American museums worried the demonstrations may spread.
Today’s protestors targeted a glass-covered 1888 Van Gogh entitled Sunflowers, according to a statement from the National Gallery. “The room was cleared of visitors and police were called. Officers are now on the scene. There is some minor damage to the frame but the painting is unharmed,” wrote the museum, which confirmed the two demonstrators were arrested and the painting is now back on display.
The action was planned by Just Stop Oil, a U.K. climate group, and carried out by Phoebe Plummer, 21, and Anna Holland, 20. “Is art worth more than life? More than food? More than justice?” asked Plummer during the demonstration, after opening a can of Heinz soup and tossing its contents on the painting behind her.
“This is not a one-day event, this is an act of resistance against a criminal government and their genocidal death project,” reads a press release from Just Stop Oil. “Our supporters will be returning—today, tomorrow and the next day—and the next day after that—and every day until our demand is met: no new oil and gas in the U.K.”
Just Stop Oil demonstrators have glued themselves to artwork in prominent U.K. museums over the past few months, targeting London’s Courtauld Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts, in addition to museums in Glasgow and Manchester. In Italy, climate group Ultima Generazione has staged similar protests at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and the Vatican Museums, while German environmental organizers from Letzte Generation Group struck museums in Berlin, Munich, Dresden and Frankfurt over the past month. All three climate groups are funded by the Climate Emergency Fund, a California-based fund founded in 2019 by philanthropic millionaires to support environmental activism.
“They certainly are persistent. For a while there they were just touching the frame and not doing much else, but this is getting ridiculous,” said Steve Keller, a museum security consultant whose clients include the Smithsonian and Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art. The escalation of protests signifies a U.S. demonstration will likely occur soon, according to Keller, who said American museums have become worried and begun formulating response plans. “I know they’re concerned,” he said.
However, U.S. museums probably won’t be willing to make any significant security changes until they are targeted, said Keller. “Museums are very slow to react on something like this.”
Implementing strengthened security protocol is a delicate balance in museums, he said. Intensified screening measures are often rejected because they make for an unfriendly environment, while barriers around high-value artwork lessen the experience for average museum-goers. Keller recalled how barriers placed around artwork at the Uffizi Galleries, which took place in the early 1990s after bombings, “totally destroyed the visitor experience.”
Museums are an ideal target for protests because of their high profile and soft security, according to Keller. “Demonstrators are not likely going to be in a situation where someone gets shot by a security guard,” he said.
Despite the fact that art institutions so far haven’t visibly implemented any new security changes in light of the protests, Keller believes this will likely change soon. “If it happens three more times, museums may change their thinking about this.”
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