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  • March 02, 2021 2:44 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Pinnacol Assurance 

    Colorado is outpacing much of the country in administering the new COVID-19 vaccines, ranking 13th among all states in vaccines administered compared to population. Almost 8% of Coloradans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

    Some of your employees may be among them, or they may have already received both doses. With coronavirus cases across Colorado dropping, it would be easy to let your guard down. So even with the vaccine rolling out, workplaces must continue to take precautions to keep workers safe.

    To assist you, we asked Pinnacol Senior Medical Director Tom Denberg, M.D., the most pressing questions regarding the vaccine and work reentry plans. The answers can help you protect your workforce as the pandemic continues.

    Can I spread COVID-19 if I’m vaccinated?

    “Yes, this is what experts currently believe, although data continues to be gathered and analyzed. 

    “Asymptomatic COVID-19 spread is possible even after you get the vaccine. While vaccination dramatically reduces the risk of developing the symptomatic disease, vaccinated people can still test positive if they are asymptomatic. It is possible that these individuals can then transmit the virus to unvaccinated people. 

    “For that reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that even those who have been vaccinated keep practicing social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings.”

    Can I mandate that my employees get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    “You can. The better question is probably whether you should.

    “The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued guidance confirming employers can mandate vaccination with qualified exceptions, similar to the annual flu vaccine. To do so, the employer has to show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a ‘significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others.’

    “For employees who can’t get the vaccine, such as people with a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act or those with sincerely held religious beliefs, employers would need to provide accommodations, such as use of N95 masks, remote work, or Family and Medical Leave Act leave.”

    Should I mandate that my employees get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    “There also are reasons not to make vaccination mandatory. Your decision may come down to the nature of your industry. Do your employees deal daily with the public? Are they essential workers? If not, you may want to keep vaccination voluntary.

    “While approved vaccines have been found to be safe, misinformation remains widespread. Mandatory vaccinations could impact workplace morale. Compelling employees to undergo vaccination too quickly may generate anger, anxiety and negative feelings toward employers.”

    How can I fight misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine in the workplace?

    “Consider amplifying public health messages about vaccine safety by sharing them in emails or on company social media feeds. Some employers even have shared pictures of themselves getting the vaccine to reassure employees.”

    Can employees who have been working from home return to the office safely after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

    “Most workplaces have changed their on-site operations to keep employees safe, and these measures should continue. 

    As more employees are asked (or required) to return to the workplace, the continued practicing of public health measures — e.g., mask-wearing, social distancing and plexiglass barriers for public-facing retail sales interactions — should be emphasized and should help alleviate at least some employee concerns." 

    “The rollout of the vaccine will provide the greatest opportunity for return to work and, eventually, life as usual. As the pandemic wanes, a return to ‘normal life’ will naturally happen.”

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  • March 02, 2021 2:35 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Hyperallergic

    These are testing times for museums and performance venues across the globe. With the COVID-19 pandemic still walloping the world, these institutions have been frequently forced to pause their activities, accruing mounting revenue losses, with some being forced to shutter permanently. In some cities, like Los Angeles, museums have been forced to remain closed since March of 2020. This has been a source of growing frustration among LA museums in particular, as they are required to keep their doors closed while shopping malls, restaurants, and hair salons have been allowed to reopen.

    But what if museums are safer than almost any other indoor environment, assuming that safety guidelines are being followed? A recent study at the Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin) in Germany claims just that, determining that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is far lower in museums and theaters than in supermarkets, restaurants, offices, or public transportation.

    The study, led by Martin Kriegel and Anne Hartmann, conducted a comparative evaluation of indoor environments to assess the risk of infection via aerosol particles. The analysis considers the average length of stay in a given space (two hours at a museum; eight hours in an office; one hour in a supermarket; etc.), the quality of the airflow, the type of activity carried out in the space, and the dose of aerosol particles inhaled by people in a room, among other variables. Each environment has been given an R-value, indicating the number of people that one COVID-19 carrier can infect on average.

    The researchers found that if kept at 30% capacity with everyone wearing a mask and following proper precautions, museums, theaters, and operas are safer than any other activity studied. In museums, the R-value stands at 0.5 compared to 0.6 in hair salons and 0.8 in public transportation.

    Shopping at a supermarket with a mask is twice as risky as visiting a museum, according to the study, with an R-value at 1.1. Risk of infection is more than doubled when dining indoors in a restaurant at 25% capacity (1.1), or exercising in a gym at 30% capacity (1.4).

    Eike Schmidt, director of Italy’s Uffizi Gallery, recently cited the study while pleading with authorities to allow the museum to remain open. The Uffizi was forced to close just two weeks after it reopened on January 21 due to a surge in cases in northern Italy. Prior to that, the museum was closed for a period of 77 days, the longest since the end of World War II.

    Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), expressed the same sentiment in an interview back in October.

    “We need to open museums,” Govan said. “Every other […] big metropolitan museum in the United States, is already open, other than ours. And there are hundreds of thousands, if not over a million, visitors that have visited those museums since July. And so far, not one single case of COVID transmitted in museums.”

    Celeste DeWald, the executive director of the California Association of Museums, told the New York Times in a recent interview: “It’s frustrating to see crowded shopping malls and retail spaces and airports, yet museums are completely closed and many have not been able to reopen at all for the last 10 months […] There is a unique impact on museums.”

    Currently, the only indoor space open to the public at LACMA is the museum’s gift shop (at 25% capacity), as it falls under the category of commercial retail space. There’s no telling when visitors will be allowed into its expansive art galleries.

    In a column for the Los Angeles Times, art critic Carolina A. Miranda slammed California Governor Gavin Newsom’s policies as “absurd.”

    “The wildly uneven criteria speak more to the powerful, well-funded lobbies helping shape public health policy than to anything resembling science or even common sense,” Miranda wrote. “At a moment in which it is possible to get a tattoo or paw the goods at Chanel in Beverly Hills, it should be possible to visit a museum. Period.”

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  • February 16, 2021 3:06 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Management Magazine

    Meet Paul—a seasoned professional who was recently hired by a famous international organization to be a regional crisis lead. Given the organization's informal, free-flowing, and innovative culture, Paul was confident about taking on his new role. The head of resilience and the human resources team made a conscious choice to hire him. He has an unusual professional and educational background, and his new perspective should foster more efficiency, innovation, and agility in the regional and global crisis teams. But for the organization to reap the benefits of diverse thinking, the commitment to inclusion shouldn’t stop at a job offer.

    For the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California in Berkeley, diversity refers to “an obvious fact of human life—namely, that there are many different kinds of people—and the idea that this diversity drives cultural, economic, and social vitality and innovation.”

    Today, the word “diversity” is strongly associated with racial and gender diversity, and the business case for it is stronger than ever. A 2020 report from McKinsey & Company, Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, states that companies that foster gender diversity are 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability compared to companies that don’t.

    Now, let us take it one step further. As noted by Berkeley, diversity among people is much richer yet complex to grasp. We differ in language, education, lifestyle, professional background, religion, ethnicity, gender, health, culture, social roles, sexual orientation, skills, income, political views, and countless other domains. In recent years, neurodiversity, which refers to the range of brain function differences, has even been recognized as another piece of the diversity map.

    Considering that people in general—and decision makers in particular—tend to seek out or construe data in a way that corroborates their preconceived ideas (a tendency called confirmation bias in psychology and cognitive science), we can easily imagine how complex and unsettling it is to deal with such a high level of diversity among their teams and colleagues.

    Yet, during crises, those decision makers are expected to think outside the box and lead through change. Change means conflict—conflicting thoughts, conflicting opinions, conflicting needs, conflicting objectives, and conflicting feelings. That is the negative perception of change. If we want to use a more constructive term: change also means diversity—diversity of thoughts, diversity of opinions, and diversity of needs. Diversity is inherent to a crisis.

    During a recent crisis, Paul witnessed his CEO and executive team say that the situation was so challenging and high-profile that they did not want to gather the regular crisis management team to lead through it. The CEO and her team of three did not want to get anyone else’s opinion. They managed the crisis behind closed doors. Paul tried to convince them otherwise, without much success. They had a heated discussion about it, but the CEO did not change her mind. Her leitmotiv was: “The crisis is challenging enough. I cannot afford to have wild thinkers around the table. I need clarity.”

    Eventually, the company did survive the crisis. From the standpoint of the CEO and her inner circle, that was a significant win. But elsewhere in the company—including for Paul—the story is slightly different. Across the company, the communication flow was severely damaged, Paul and many of his colleagues no longer trusted management, and employees’ motivation decreased. And after being labeled uncooperative and emotional, Paul moved on to another company. He realized that, for this company, diversity was just a façade.

    In a recent article, we noted that an efficient and sharp crisis leader focuses on others’ needs. Focusing on others means accepting differences without judgment, which requires a high level of self-awareness and empathy. In other words, beyond the quotas and statistics, implementing bonafide diversity means promoting a significant level of emotional intelligence throughout the company, from top to bottom.

    So, what does it entail for an organization, its leaders, managers, and employees to thoroughly and holistically embrace diversity?

    Last November, Forbes published an article where a panel of human resources leaders highlighted the top skills recruiters are looking for in 2021. Out of this list, organizations should promote three specific skills daily for diversity and resilience.

    The top skill is a growth mind-set (as opposed to a fixed mind-set). An easy way to identify if we have a fixed mind-set is to evaluate our self-talk: “I don't like to be challenged,” “I stick to what I know,” or “If I fail, my reputation is on the line.” Whereas, a growth mind-set will sound like: “Failure is an opportunity to grow,” “Any feedback is constructive,” or “The success of others inspires me.”

    The second critical skill to nurture is continuous learning and curiosity before, during, and after crises. The COVID-19 crisis, in particular, has proven that we must demonstrate innovative problem-solving monthly, if not daily. That means we need to surround ourselves with real heterogeneity of thoughts. Security and resilience professionals need to get out of our usual circles, networks, and industries and sincerely seek to learn from others.

    Finally, comfort with ambiguity is the third primary skill to stir up. As Jonni Redick, CEO of JLConsulting Solutions and a retired assistant chief for the California Highway Patrol, pointed out: "Contemporary leaders still struggle with the ability to shift their archetype and understand the need to be able to embrace change as a norm. Trusted leaders allow the conscious creation of new mind-sets and skills to invent new ways of doing business without becoming defensive. Understanding that our people will always be the most valuable asset, and when we overlook anyone, we overlook everyone."

    Start-up owners and employees can relate to this one directly. Our brain seeks stability and predictability, even if we like to think that we adapt quickly and that we are agile. Acknowledging it is the first step toward a more flexible and resilient mind-set.

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  • February 16, 2021 3:02 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Artnet News

    The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has released a 42-page guide detailing best practices for US arts venues reopening their doors during the pandemic.  

    “The Art of Reopening,” as the document is called, is the result of interviews with nine arts organizations that have successfully resumed business in the past few months—albeit in a constricted, adaptive manner. 

    The organizations comprise an intentionally diverse group that spans artistic disciplines, budget sizes, and geographic regions in the name of capturing a broad snapshot of the US arts landscape. Among the interviewees are representatives from Americans for the Arts and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as well as performing arts operations like the Cincinnati Ballet and the GALA Hispanic Theatre. 

    The guide lays out six bulleted lessons learned from these venues, with a focus less on specific safety measures than administrative and ideological approaches. 

    “Adapting quickly to new circumstances and information, and communicating those lessons promptly and effectively to artists/staff, board members, donors, and the public will attract greater confidence in your endeavor,” reads one tip from the guide. 

    The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, for example, has consulted with the nearby Baylor College of Medicine on its reopening plans. “We have assembled a team to help us think through this, to help us move through this really challenging time,” says the museum’s chief development officer, Amy Purvis, in the report. “The team helps us navigate the different and evolving thoughts about how the disease is transmitted, its incubation period, and the viral load.”

    The document also encourages organizations to strengthen ties to their local communities, re-commit to their founding missions, and to keep a camera rolling during all the ups and downs as they feel their way through these unprecedented times. Documenting and sharing the journey, the guide says, can help reach increasingly broader audiences.

    Included in the guide, too, is a survey of the reopening strategies from national service organizations in the arts, such as the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors, conducted by the NEA’s office of research and analysis last September and October. 

    Not surprisingly, the study found that museums have reopened at a greater rate than performing arts institutions. Programming-wise, reopened venues across both categories have found success with virtual performances, outdoor events, and timed or ticketed entry. 

    Download the full “Art of Reopening” guide here.

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  • February 16, 2021 2:59 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from MuseumNext

    As the song goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. And that’s certainly how the world is feeling right now about those cultural venues and institutions that we all miss so dearly.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating our lives for close to a year now, the loss of our favourite pastimes and enriching experiences has become increasingly painful. So, it’s only natural that we attempt to reflect on how things have changed and how much we have all had to adjust to a “new normal”.

    Significant change causes us to try and make sense of the world around us, and time and time again we turn to art as a way to express and perceive the complex emotional impact of pivotal moments in human history. While spending time wandering the corridors and galleries of our favourite institutions may not have been possible for much of the last year, it’s true to say that museums haven’t been standing still. In fact, they’ve been finding new ways to resonate and connect with the public – at a time when their value has become intensely clear under the microscope of restrictions and hardship.

    A case in point: the Covid Letters:

    The UK’s Foundling Museum was originally founded in the 1700s as a home for abandoned children. It seems fitting, therefore, that their most recent exhibition gave voice to the young people struggling with the realities of the pandemic.

    The Covid Letters was pieced together by designed Jonny Banger, who sought out works from the nation’s children during lockdown. Using the letter Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent out to households to announce the lockdown as a canvas, children under the age of 16 were encouraged to customise and decorate it in a way that articulated their feelings about the pandemic. This included how they felt about the Government, the NHS, schools and the changes to family life.

    The result is over 200 unique works which give a direct insight into the way the pandemic has impacted young people. From anti-government graffiti to support for the NHS, this colourful collection is full of frustration, inspiration and stories.

    Going digital in a big way

    When much of the world first went into lockdown in spring 2020, museums were forced to shut their doors. Almost one year later, many of these institutions have mastered the art of digital exhibitions.

    Even the world’s biggest cultural powerhouses like The Louvre, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum have spent the last year creating a constant stream of illuminating and inspiring content for museum fans to enjoy from anywhere in the world. And although this level of digitalisation has been forced upon us by chaotic circumstances, in a way it has made museums more accessible than ever before. The ever-evolving use of social media by museums in lockdown has also created a clear line of communication between institutions and the public, allowing fans and followers to inform the dialogue – rather than acting merely as the audience to broadcast messages.

    So it’s no wonder that the rise in digital exhibitions has been well-received. The Centre Pompidou in Paris has seen record numbers of “visitors” in lockdown, and a huge spike in digital interest. The museum’s official podcast has had eight times as many listens since the building’s closure, and the popularity of the museum’s YouTube channel is reportedly up by 60%.

    Exploring the state of wellbeing

    Not every museum has found success in lockdown, and many may struggle to entice visitors back through their physical doors in the wake of the pandemic – even if they have survived the financial hardship of the last 12 months. For those who succeed in battling through, however, there will almost undoubtedly be a period of self-reflection and introspection to navigate over the coming months and years.

    This is exactly what the Guardians of Sleep exhibition aims to achieve. Created through a collaboration between the Museum of London and Canada’s Museum of Dreams, the exhibition will collect descriptions of people’s COVID dreams as a way to explore and understand any commonality in how our mental health has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Such ambitious exhibitions highlight how, by engaging with today’s society, museums have the power to help us all feel less alone.

    Of course, any discussion about mental health must address the anxiety, fear and stress that has been a common feature of everyday life in recent times. But if museums are equipped to do anything, it is to help make sense of the world through. As we emerge from the trauma of Covid-19, capturing the knowledge we have gained and documenting the stories created during this period will be an essential role for museums.

    The pandemic has turned museum culture on its head. To find out more about the journeys museums and galleries have taken to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, don’t miss the MuseumNext Digital Summit later this month.

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  • February 16, 2021 2:55 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from California Academy of Sciences

    Earlier this month, the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) awarded the California Academy of Sciences an IF/THEN® Gender Equity Grant to increase the visual representation of women and gender minorities in STEM across museum content. The Academy joins 27 other recipients around the U.S. working to showcase greater gender diversity in exhibits, displays, and materials as part of their broader efforts to advance diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity. The Academy also received one of four prestigious Moonshot Awards given to support extraordinary efforts that can be easily replicated or shared with other science centers and museums.

    “Representation matters, and as the oldest cultural institution in San Francisco, the Academy is proud to highlight the diversity of STEM practitioners that reflects the diversity of our city,” says Dr. Lauren Esposito, Curator of Arachnology and Founder of 500 Queer Scientists, a powerful visibility campaign for LGBTQ+ professionals working in science, science education, and science advocacy.

    The Academy will develop a pop-up exhibit that tells the first-person stories of LGBTQ+ women and gender minorities of color in STEM professions. The exhibit will be made available for other institutions to easily and inexpensively recreate and display, allowing them to showcase the stories that resonate most with their audiences. In addition, Google Arts & Culture will host a virtual exhibit that features all first-person profiles plus additional content, helping to ensure these powerful stories extend beyond museum walls. The goal is to create space for the LGBTQ+ community to see themselves in STEM, and to help all audiences better recognize the true diversity of STEM practitioners in their communities.

    “People with LGBTQ+ identities have propelled science forward from the shadows, and they’ve persisted in the face of persecution—scientific and otherwise—for centuries,” says Esposito. “It’s long past time for us to be seen for our accomplishments, and embraced for our identities.”

    A growing body of evidence indicates that LGBTQ+ people in STEM are statistically underrepresented, encounter hostile work and educational environments, and leave STEM professions at an alarming rate. LGBTQ+ representation in STEM has lagged behind societal progress, particularly where identities of women and gender minorities intersect with Black, Indigenous, and other person-of-color identities. Museums like the Academy are perfectly positioned to start a conversation that catalyzes a culture shift across society. The Academy’s pop-up exhibit will be transformative by creating space for the communities being highlighted and by showing future LGBTQ+ professionals in STEM that they’re not alone.

    The pop-up exhibit opens later this summer and will feature the work of inspiring individuals who are a critical force for STEM progress but whose voices have traditionally gone unheard. To nominate someone for the exhibit, please fill out a submission form.

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  • February 16, 2021 2:50 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Retail Customer Experience

    Self-service automation can improve efficiency, but in a retail environment, the human touch is as important as ever.

    What many retailers are learning is that self-service technology cannot only help support a humanized environment; it is necessary to give consumers the choices they are looking for.

    These were the takeaways of a panel presentation, "How, When and Why to Add Self-Service Kiosks" at last week's Self-Service Innovation Summit.

    The coronavirus pandemic has encouraged some retailers to hasten their introduction of self-service options, although not at the expense of not having employees on hand.

    Coronavirus accelerates change

    COVID-19 caused The Hudson Group, which operates stores in travel facilities, to accelerate its use of automated self service, said panelist Ruth Crowley, vice president of merchandise and brand strategy, The Hudson Group. This past summer, the company introduced personal protection equipment vending machines in 27 airports and the Houston Space Center.

    "It doesn't mean we lose touch with the customer," Crowley said. The company makes sure associates are on hand to help the customer at the kiosk.

    "What we have tried to do is humanize the elements of the experience," Crowley said. One way they do this is through the use of an app that allows the customer to make a purchase even before they arrive at the airport.

    Crowley said customer expectations are higher than ever. "They want what they want when they want it," she said.

    Consumers want choice and control

    Saladworks, a fast casual restaurant chain, began adding a robotic salad maker, known as "Sally" — which allows guests to select from 22 toppings and serve themselves a fresh salad in less than a minute, said panelist Eric Lavinder, chief development officer at Saladworks.

    "With food, you have to be convenient, you have to be accessible and you have to make it easy," he said. "The biggest thing is putting healthy food in more places."

    Lavinder said the company also has a guest engagement program that allows it to interact with customers on personal level and learn their tastes and habits.

    "It's really about learning the customer. You can give them better consistency," he said, as well as up-sell them. "They (consumers) also want choice and control. To me the technology is a necessity."

    Technology boosts customer engagement

    The Ontario Regiment Tank Museum in Ontario, Canada, repositioned its digital concierge avatar, Lana, to provide contact tracing information and screen visitors before they enter, said panelist Jeremy Neal Blowers, executive director. They added facial recognition that allows Lana to know if you are a visitor or a staff member. A staff member requires a daily COVID screening.

    The contact tracing allows the museum to send information on all visitors to the health department, Blowers said.

    The museum introduced Lana in 2019 to recognize and engage visitors when they enter the museum. They wanted to welcome visitors to make check-in seamless and answer common questions about the museum.

    For the museum, Lana actually enhanced the human interaction, Blowers said, since it gives the volunteers the chance to talk about the museum and not deal with mundane transactional tasks.

    In addition, high value customers (regular visitors or donors) have the ability to opt in at the concierge to a higher level customization, Blowers said. The facial recognition can offer special things for VIP visitors.

    "It creates a consistency because it is an automated system," he said for the technology.

    Convenience, convenience, convenience

    The Wooster Red Sox, the minor league team for the Boston Red Sox, will have self-service kiosks for selling tickets and for automated food concessions at its new ball park, said panelist Matt Levin, the company's senior vice president and chief financial and technology officer.

    A fan will go in, take something from the shelf and take it to the self-serve kiosk to pay. They plan to allow a fan to do it from their mobile device too.

    Levin said an even more personal experience will emerge as his company gathers more data on shopper behavior. If more shoppers are looking for candy bars, for instance, they can relocate that product in the store.

    "This gives us the means of redeploying some of our human assets to help be better ambassadors for our fans," he said, echoing Blowers. "As opposed to somebody being a cashier, we can now utilize that body to actually create meaningful dialog with our fans and help them with the kiosk."

    "It's not about having the technology replace the human capital but it's actually using the human capital to help the customer with the technology and beyond to help them find targeted experiences," he said.

    Throughput metric is a crucial metric, Levin said. "We only have them for a limited amount of time," he said. Having to wait in line for a hot dog causes people not to order food.

    Offering both a contactless and staffed approach is the best of both worlds, said panel co-moderator Mark Thomson, director of retail and hospitality solutions EMEA at Zebra Technologies.

    The panelists agreed that the use of apps will increase since it enhances the customer relationship.

    "This is the only way forward. It's not going to revert back," Crowley said, noting that research has found that 66% of people are more comfortable engaging with an app. "To engage with people in a more holistic way, you have to do this."

    "Once you open your mind to the customization and the automation, it's amazing," Blowers said. "I'm sure everybody here is working on more ideas." With the virtual concierge, they will recognize a foreign language and personalize the experience. They could also deploy a concierge at an exhibit as opposed to just the entrance.

    "All of us here are really just the tip of the iceberg on where it is going," he said.

    Count on challenges

    Which isn't to say the journey will be easy.

    "Technology is not cheap to deploy, and some things are going to be wrong," Lavinder said. "We do a lot of research and spend a lot of money. Everything we do is not exactly perfect. You have to be willing to invest in the infrastructure and technology because you don't know what you don't know and you don't know what's going to work and not work. You have to invest the time in technology." In addition, you need to be willing to fail sometimes.

    "I don't think it's ever going to replace live stores and live people," Lavinder said. "It's on their terms, and how they want it."

    Co-moderator Richard Thompson, director of global OEM sales at Zebra Technologies, said that going forward, there will be more collaboration among companies on technology.

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  • February 16, 2021 2:47 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Artnet News

    Nearly 100 French museum directors and curators have shared an open letter urging the culture minister to reopen the country’s arts institutions, which have been locked down since late October.

    Addressed to culture minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, the letter argues that with the safety protocols instituted over the past 10 months, museums now represent a low contamination risk and will in fact help to combat another public health risk: the “heavy psychological and social consequences” of confinement. 

    The missive was written in response to President Emmanuel Macron’s January 29 announcement that museums in France will remain closed for the foreseeable future, even though he’s chosen not to impose a third national lockdown.

    “After hearing the latest government announcements, we want to make our voice heard,” the letter reads. “We ask to be able to fully play our role of unifying places, conveying what has meaning, and to reopen the doors of our institutions as widely and as soon as possible.”

    “For an hour, for a day, for a week, or for a month, let us partially open our doors,” the document implores.

    Among the first wave of signatories were Quentin Bajac, director of Paris’s Jeu de Paume; Isabelle Bertolotti, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon; Emma Lavigne, president of the Palais de Tokyo; and Chiara Parisi, director of the Center Pompidou-Metz. Now, more than 2,300 additional signatories have added their names to the letter since the Palais de Tokyo published it through the platform

    For museum leaders, Macron’s recent announcement represents the third time a projected date for reopening has been postponed or moved since going into lockdown for a second time last fall. Mid-December was the first targeted reopening date, before being moved to January 7, and then again to the end of the month. Now, it seems, the timeline for cultural institutions to resume business remains a guessing game.

    The French Ministry of Culture did not respond to a request for comment.

    “At a time when many cultural institutions are considering the creation of spaces dedicated to well-being through art and artistic mediation,” reads the letter, “we wish to be able to take care of visitors now, because it seems essential to us that places of culture can once again offer a sensitive experience, necessary for mental well-being to face this crisis.”

    The letter concludes: “Art, like health, helps heal the human soul.”

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  • February 16, 2021 2:44 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Anthony Amore

    What is it about Massachusetts and cultural property crimes? The commonwealth has been home to a list of jaw-dropping heists that set precedents, as well as records, for the value of the items taken.

    The question was posed to me during a recent lecture I gave (virtually, of course) during which I stated that all great heists have a Massachusetts connection. I was speaking about Rose Dugdale, the subject of my recent book The Woman Who Stole Vermeer. Dugdale was not merely the first woman to pull off a major art heist, but her take from the 1974 theft of 19 works from the Russborough House in Ireland was the biggest of her day. What’s her connection to Massachusetts? After graduating from Oxford, she came to the United States and attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley to earn a master’s degree.

    Admittedly, Dr. Dugdale’s is a tangential connection. No matter, though. Here’s a summary of some of Massachusetts’ more notorious heists:

    1. 1972 - The first ever armed robbery of a museum occurs at the Worcester Art Museum when members of Florian “Al” Monday’s gang steal four masterpieces and shoot a museum guard along the way. The story is detailed in my first book, Stealing Rembrandts.

    2. 1973 - A thief uses a rouse to trick an overnight security guard into letting him into the Fogg Museum. Once inside, the thief brandishes a gun and allows three others into the facility from which they steal millions in gold coins. It is the largest coin theft in history.

    3. 1975 - Myles Connor and accomplices pull off a daring daytime heist of a precious Rembrandt painting from the Museum of Fine Arts. The work is later used to negotiate a sentence reduction for Connor related to other art heists. It’s the most prominent example of a masterwork being used by a thief as a get-out-of-jail-free card in modern history.

    4. 1978 - A Cezanne still life and six other paintings are stolen from the home of Michael Bakwin in Stockbridge. The paintings are valued in the tens of millions of dollars and the heist is considered the biggest property theft from a home in American history. The story of this heist is told in my book The Art of the Con.

    5. 1990 - The Gardner Museum heist. Simply put, the biggest property theft in the history of the world.

    Interspersed throughout these years and since, Massachusetts also became known as the armored car robbery capital of the U.S., with violent gangs from the South Shore and as far as Pittsfield picking off money trucks on what seemed like a weekly basis. And none of the above includes the legendary crimes of the likes of Whitey Bulger, the Winter Hill gang, the Angiulo Brothers, and the innumerable other museum thefts perpetrated by Myles Connor.

    One wonders what was behind all this. Could it have been the corruption of a rather large number of law enforcement officers that provided thieves with a sense of protection? Might it have been the natural byproduct of a city with two distinct sets of ethnic mafias running amok, inspiring lower-level hoods by providing at least the potential for lining up illicit sales? One thing is for sure: Massachusetts, from the late 1960s through the mid-1990s, was a veritable Wild West situated right here in New England. Thanks to a strong effort to clean up its ranks, law enforcement has made great strides in defeating the large-scale heist epidemic that plagued Massachusetts for too long.

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  • February 16, 2021 2:40 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Art Sentry

    Art Sentry, the leading object protection and surveillance solution for cultural properties has partnered with Axis Communications to integrate the Axis Perimeter Defender product into its system. This feature is designed to extend the protection of cultural properties beyond the interior of their facilities and assist with the early identification of potential threats.

    Cultural property executives have historically lost sleep due to concerns that their collections may not be properly protected during the visitations of their patrons. Countless hours of strategic planning have been invested in the pursuit of maximizing exhibit protection from theft and damage. Investments in personnel, training and various types of electronic security equipment have all been made in this pursuit.

    However, recent events have introduced an entirely new set of threats related to the protection of cultural properties nationwide. Civil protests targeting historical figures have repeatedly been organized and our nation has been littered with destructive examples. These protests start on the outside of a facility but can easily spread to the inside of the building. 

    No longer is it safe to concentrate only on the protection of the artifacts housed within the walls of cultural properties. More focus is now being dedicated to the immediate identification of threats by these protest groups at the facilities perimeter, and new technology can be indispensable to assist with gathering more timely intelligence related to these threats. Early threat identification at the perimeter can give the security forces extra time which may be the difference between threat mitigation or the escalation of violence. 

    It is likely that these protests will continue as history is ripe with deliberate attacks on cultural heritage during times of civil unrest. Often civil protests target cultural properties because the artifacts they house can represent controversial material and history. Symbols of controversial topics are often represented within and around cultural properties to present a historical record to be studies and learned from. Sadly, as passions are inflamed, these symbols are targeted and have become the focus of protest groups because their destruction is perceived as having maximum impact to bring attention to their cause.

    The integration of Perimeter Defender gives cultural properties the ability to quickly identify threats where security starts—at the perimeter of their facilities. The video analytics application provides a highly effective system that automatically detects and responds to people and vehicles intruding on your property. It can be customized to the customers’ facility and other individual needs. 

    This feature is another layer in the Company's comprehensive museum protection system. It is said that security starts from the “outside-in” and the Perimeter Defender capability is just another way that Art Sentry helps its customers Guard the World’s Treasurers.

    Do you need more information about Art Sentry? Would you like to schedule a demonstration to see how it works? Contact us and we’ll show you the benefits of the Art Sentry system.

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