INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FORCULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION
Reposted from ArtNet
On a recent visit to an Indigenous cultural center in Nova Scotia, Canadian politician Bill Casey found himself admiring an intricately embroidered robe. He was surprised to hear from a curator that what he was looking at was not the real thing, but a replica.
Held behind glass at the Millbrook Cultural and Heritage Centre near Truro, Nova Scotia, the stunning 19th-century Mi’kmaq regalia was a convincing facsimile of the original. The real regalia, however, is currently tucked away in a drawer at a museum in Melbourne, Australia.
Millbrook’s Mi’kmaq First Nation have been fighting to reclaim this unique piece of heritage for a decade. Their plight is familiar to many Indigenous communities in Canada and beyond. But now, for the first time, an unprecedented groundswell of support is growing to buttress their efforts.
The push for restitution in Canada comes at a moment when long-held assumptions about the rightful ownership of cultural heritage are coming under renewed scrutiny worldwide. In Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to make restitution of French-owned African heritage a priority over the next five years, while Germany recently published guidelines on how to handle its own massive collections of colonial-era artifacts.
But former European colonies like Canada find themselves in a categorically different position. The so-called source communities asking for restitution are not an ocean away, but squarely within their own borders. Meanwhile, some of the contested items are held by foreign countries, creating a diplomatic and bureaucratic obstacle course. Arguably even more painful, other objects are in the collections of Canadian museums—visible but still out of reach for Indigenous communities.
Casey, who is a member of Canada’s federal parliament and represents Millbrook, was deeply affected by his visit to the cultural center. Since then, he has set out to help create a national strategy to help Indigenous peoples get their objects back, both from foreign nations and institutions within Canada’s own borders.
This February, he introduced a bill called the Aboriginal Cultural Property Repatriation Act (also known as Bill C-391) that aims to clear a smoother path for repatriation. The bill was unanimously voted forward through two rounds, most recently on June 7. Now, it will go to a Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for further study. There is still a long way to go before it becomes law, but it’s off to a promising start. Parliament will debate the bill this autumn.
“From talking with many Indigenous stakeholders, I know that this strategy that would obtain artifacts being held in foreign museums and bring them back to Canada is long overdue,” Casey said after the vote in early June in the House of Commons. “For many Indigenous communities, the ceremonial artifacts that were removed by explorers over the centuries are a keenly missed part of their cultural heritage and identity.”
When news first broke about Bill C-391 earlier this year, it caught several in the museum world off guard. “This bill, C-391, frankly came as a total surprise to us,” said John McAvity, the executive director and CEO of the Canadian Museums Association, which advocates for the museum sector in Canada. “It’s a well-meaning piece of legislation, but not really necessary as Canadian museums have been repatriating artifacts for over 35 years.”
Indeed, museums including Chicago’s Field Museum and the BC Royal Museum in Canada have repatriated objects to Canadian Indigenous communities over the years. But the new bill seeks to establish a national support system to make these requests more feasible for Indigenous communities, in part by providing funding for the transfer and storage of objects.
McAvity says he supports the bill overall and believes it will empower communities to gain access to their own cultural heritage. But he also points out the need for certain amendments. For one, he notes, human remains are not currently included in the list of qualifying objects, even though they are very often a top priority for repatriation.
So how, exactly, did Indigenous cultural property end up leaving the hands of its creators and landing in museums?
While some objects may have been legitimately purchased or donated, others are alleged to have been illegitimately confiscated by Canadian officials. From 1885 to 1951, the federal government banned potlach ceremonies—rituals practiced by Indigenous people in the Northwest to mark important events—in an effort to compel Indigenous people to assimilate and restrict their cultural expression. In the case of the notorious Cranmer potlach in 1921, officials arrested 45 potlach participants and swept up many important cultural objects in the process.
Over the years, artifacts from these ceremonies, including ritual clothing and dancing masks, ended up in museums including the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
“These important cultural objects were taken or stolen under our colonial regime’s disguise of superiority of ‘cultural preservation,'” a spokesman for Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly told CBC in response to Casey’s legislation.
Despite a growing willingness to address the issue, however, deep divisions about restitution remain, and a number of highly contested requests remain unresolved. The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh holds the human remains of the last two members of Canada’s Beothuk tribe, APTN News reported last December.
Though the Beothuk slowly died out following European colonization, other local Indigenous community members in the region have been actively trying in vain to reclaim the remains. National Museums Scotland, which now oversees the collection, has said it would only consider a request from Canada’s federal government.
Finally, Canada submitted an “official” request in 2016, but the matter remains unresolved. As of this writing, the remains of Demasduit and her husband, a chief named Nonosabasut, as well as 10 burial items removed from graves, remain stored in the Scottish capital. The Scottish Museums Association has argued against restitution, in part because there are no living Beothuk descendants.
McAvity, the Canadian Museums Association director, remembers when he first heard the word “cultural repatriation.” It was at a Canadian museums conference on the West Coast in the 1970s. “A lone woman from the Haida Nation stood up and talked about repatriation,” he recalled. The room fell silent. “Most of us had never heard the word or concept before. It was a defining moment for me.”
Much has changed since then. The current conversation is part of a much broader discussion in Canada about the federal government’s need to make amends to Indigenous communities.
In 2008, Canada established the landmark Truth and Reconciliation Commission which, in 2015, released 94 calls to action to bring restorative justice to Indigenous peoples. From the 1880s to the end of the 20th century, the Canadian government operated a brutal residential school system that separated Indigenous children from their parents for extended periods and sought to “‘kill the Indian in the child,'” as Canada’s former Prime Minister Stephen Harper put it in an official apology in 2008.
A call to action targeted at museums seeking a national review of current policies and practices to determine their compliance with the United Nations’ 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; In response, the Canadian Museums Association initiated a 15-member working group this May with key members from its national museums and Indigenous cultural institutions.
“What we’re dealing with is one of the steps in reconciliation of the residential school experience and all of the ways in which heritage and knowledge were denied to Indigenous communities, or how the transmission of culture and traditional knowledge from generation to generation was interrupted. That is really the heart of this whole discussion,” says Sarah Pash, the executive director at Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute and a member of the working group who also sits on the Canadian Museums Association’s board.
Over the next three years, the task force will tackle a range of Indigenous art-related issues, including restitution. Casey’s bill is also on the table for consideration.
“For years, restitution was a no-no word in the museum language,” says McAvity. “This is changing fast, and it is about time for this new reality.”
In recent years, Canadian museums have been working increasingly closely with Indigenous communities. But Pash says institutions must be careful to let Indigenous people take the lead on restitution-related matters, particularly in cases where their elders have specialized knowledge that can help retrace objects’ lost ownership histories.
Advocates argue that one of the most important parts of the bill is the proposed financial support that would enable communities to establish storage facilities or cultural institutions to house their own artifacts. McAvity notes that in that past, some communities have opted not to pursue restitution simply because they were unable to safely preserve the objects.
Still, others worry that increased funding could turn the current stream of repatriation requests into a flood. If the bill were to pass, would Canada’s museums end up empty? No, says McAvity. On the contrary, the law would likely result in the creation of more museums—ones run by Indigenous communities who have expertise in their own histories.
“Our treasures are family,” the artist and educator Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel, who has recently been appointed a repatriation specialist at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, tells artnet News. “To know that our family is being stored away in museum cases or in basements or attics in far away lands has always been heartbreaking.” (The Royal Museum, for one, owns several objects that were confiscated from potlach ceremonies in the early 20th century.)
In her new role, Neel has developed an intriguing idea. She suggests that Indigenous Nations artists create replicas of cultural objects for Canadian museums as the originals are returned to their respective communities.
“These replicas could remain with museums along with much more information, so they can continue to serve as educational tools for people of all cultures,” Neel says. “[Visitors] will know that we are not a dead or dying culture. We are still here.”
In recent months, the Australian ambassador to Canada, Natasha Smith, has reached out to Casey, the Canadian politician, about the contested Mi’kmaq regalia that inspired his new bill. The Millbrook cultural center is now in active discussions with Australia and the First Nations museum there where it is being currently stored; The goal is to establish a plan to repatriate the robe as soon as possible.
“This is not a country-to-country negotiation, it is a First Nation-to-First Nation negotiation, and they are 15,000 km apart,” says Casey. “When the Ambassador contacted me, she pointed out, ‘How could we ask other countries to repatriate, if we’re not prepared to also do the same?’ I was floored. Already, this has had an impact.”
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Reposted from The Hindu Times
Who could have imagined that the next big Hollywood movie was going to be about a rare book heist, or that an actual rare book heist would take its cue from Mission Impossible? The just released American Animals happens to be a movie about a bunch of college misfits trying to rob the rare book library of an American university, while that rather audacious real-life robbery of expensive rare books last year from a London warehouse featured three thieves who broke into the place by rappelling down the roof’s skylight, skillfully dodging motion sensors, in the stunt that Ethan Hunt-Tom Cruise made famous.
In American Animals, which also happens to be a true story, they don’t quite get away with it (no spoilers — this is clear from the beginning), while in the warehouse heist, they do; making away with books worth 2.5 million dollars.
Everything about this warehouse rare book theft remains a mystery: who were they, who hired them, and how did they know of this cache of rarities stowed away in an otherwise nondescript warehouse? One more nagging question persists: where are the books now, and why have they not surfaced in the market? If they were not stolen to be sold, why were they taken?
A year later it’s slowly becoming clear that the whole thing was very possibly masterminded by a collector who desired these books. That explains why the books have stayed hidden — they were taken not for profit but to disappear into the private collection of a collector.
On the other hand, the motive of the kids in the movie feels straightforward enough, if amateurish: it was to be a dare. Could they do it, and still profit from it? What starts out full of swagger and bravado turns into a comic nightmare as things go wrong.
Unlike art objects where the security is sophisticated and high-end, rare books, prints and maps are an easy — or easier — target. Valuable books often disappear from bookshops, book fairs, storages, libraries and even private collections. They are vulnerable in a way other pricey collected objects are not. Every now and then alerts pop up on the rare book world radar, indicating books that have gone missing.
The alerts list and describe the books, noting ownership marks in them, so that when a bookseller is approached with this stolen loot, he or she can sound the alarm.
Sometimes bookseller codes are shared — these are minuscule acquisition notations in pencil in some corner of the book that the thief will miss or ignore, but something other booksellers can watch out for if a suspicious lot of rare books comes their way for sale.
Typically, the more experienced book thief will not offer his recent loot to the market, but wait a few years before trying to sell, in the hope that not everyone will remember these books had once been reported stolen or missing.
India had Stephen Blumberg who, you will remember, as that notorious book thief who stole more than a million dollars’ worth of rare books from several libraries.
Blumberg went by the name of Bharani, but this was probably not even his real name. He wore long, shabby coats with deep pockets stitched everywhere to slip books into.
He scorned bookshops in India as offering nothing in the way of rare books (which was, and is, true), and confined himself to prowling the institutional libraries across India. He had a fake identity card made out as Professor John Vidyasagar and presented himself as a numismatics scholar to librarians.
Unlike Blumberg, Bharani did not lick away the glue from library card pockets and labels but applied some sort of chemical mix he had concocted himself to make those traces disappear. Or he would painstakingly erase out perforation stamps and other telltale ex-libris marks. He was a skillful book restorer and was able to discard pedestrian library bindings, and replace the valuable antiquarian volumes in a simple but elegant contemporary binding.
And then he would offer them for sale abroad to unsuspecting European collectors. Bharani has not been seen or heard from in some years now — some say he was caught trying to make off with some precious government artifact and is serving a jail sentence somewhere, others say they know for a fact that he has returned to his ancestral home in Mauritius and lives in some anonymity there.
American Animals is not the only book-themed movie this season; Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop is finally a movie. This slim novel published in 1978 about a woman who risks opening a bookshop in a small town has earned a small but devoted following, and this movie version will give this obscure literary gem a little more traction. There’s a sentiment in the book, caught nicely in the movie, that all bibliophiles will give fervent assent to: “You’re never lonely in a bookshop.”
Reposted from Insider
Adults aren't the only ones who have caused some serious damage to a number of famous places and landmarks.
Kids have been known to be just as destructive — whether by accident or not.
We rounded up nine incidents where children were accused of ruining everything from a piece of artwork to a famous landmark.
Keep scrolling for some stories that are sure to make you cringe, no matter if you're a parent or not.
Surveillance video captured footage of a child attempting to "hug" a piece of artwork during a wedding reception at Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, in June 2018.
The statue, titled "Aphrodite di Kansas City" and created by the artist Bill Lyons, was worth $132,000 dollars. It fell to the ground after the child's attempted hug, and the community center has filed an insurance claim requiring the parents to pay for the damage.
A 12-year-old boy tripped while exploring a Leonardo da Vinci-themed exhibit at the Huashan 1914 creative arts center in Taipei, in August 2015. Footage from inside the gallery shows the boy reaching out to catch himself, but instead punching his fist into a $1.5 million painting that was on display.
The painting, titled "Flowers," was created by Baroque artist Paolo Porpora and dated back to the 1600s. One of the exhibit's organizers told CNN that insurance would cover the cost of repairing the hole, meaning that the boy's family would not have to pay for the damage.
Sephora shopper and makeup artist Brittney Nelson shared a photo of an eyeshadow display that had been completely destroyed at one of the chain's locations in Augusta, Georgia, in November 2017. The display featured over $1,000 worth of Make Up For Ever eyeshadow. According to Nelson, the damage was done by a "small child."
Although she never saw the child actually wreck the display, Nelson told INSIDER that as she walked into the store, she passed a woman who was rushing her child out of the store. "The glittery footprints helped us decipher it was a tiny human," Nelson said.
Just an hour after a Lego show opened in Ningbo, China, in June 2016, a young boy reportedly knocked over a human-sized sculpture. The Lego sculpture, which was of a fox character from Disney's "Zootopia" movie, cost over $15,000 and took artist "Mr. Zhao" three days to build.
The parents apologized to the artist, who accepted the apology and didn't hold the parents responsible for the damage, saying that he knew it was just an accident.
CGTN, the English language news channel of China Central Television, captured footage of two young boys playing with, and breaking, a sculpture on display in the Shanghai Museum of Glass in May 2016. Even worse, the children's adult chaperones filmed the incident, instead of trying to stop them.
The boys ended up breaking off a piece of the wing-like sculpture, which then shattered after hitting the floor. Titled "Angel in Waiting," the piece of artwork took artist Shelly Xue 27 months to create. Hyperallergic reported that instead of fixing the sculpture, Xue simply renamed it to "Broken" and left it as is. It's unclear whether the adults were ever held accountable for the damage, but the museum did install a video of the incident next to the display.
A YouTube video showed footage of a 10-year-old causing some major destruction at a Dollar Store in Tallahassee, Florida, in December 2014. The boy was making his way through the store, leaving behind a trail of products that he was throwing off the shelves.
After the boy threatened to hit a store customer, a man who was thought to be a store employee grabbed the boy by his collar and ushered him out of the store, according to the Daily Mail.
According to the Northyorkshire Police, a group of five young people were seen pushing a rock off a crag at Brimham Rocks, a National Trust site that dates back millions of years, in June of 2018. The rock formation has been shaped by centuries of wind, rain, and ice.
"The incident has not only caused considerable damage to both the rock and the crag face, but those responsible also put themselves in danger and have created a potential hazard for other visitors to Brimham Rocks," the police said.
The Duckbill was an iconic stone landmark that stood perched at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, Oregon. Although the landmark was fenced off to the public, one group of young adults decided to ruin the formation.
Footage captured by David Kalas, who was filming a drone video in the area, caught the group trying to knock over the stone. Eventually they succeeded, at which point the large rock tipped to the ground and crumbled.
According to KATU News, when Kalas confronted the group, they told him they attempted to destroy the rock because one of their friends had broken his leg on the rock earlier. At the time, no one from the video had been identified, but park officials were conferring with the police about how to handle the situation.
A Chinese teenager who was visiting Egypt carved his named onto a 3,500-year-old sculpture in Luxor, reportedly writing "Ding Jinhao visited here."
The damage, which was done in May 2013, caused the Chinese National Tourism Administration to issue advice to tourists, telling them to comply with public orders, help maintain a clean environment, and protect public infrastructure, among other things.
Reposted from the New York Post
A “promposal” may end up landing someone behind bars after a national monument in Colorado was vandalized last month.
The National Park Service’s Colorado National Monument posted about the vandalism on Saturday. It shows the words “Prom…ise?” and “I promise to love you forever + always” on the rocks, located outside of Grand Junction.
National Park Ranger Frank Hayde told FOX31 the vandalism was reported on May 23 by someone who lives near the site.
The graffiti is still up because preservationists need to analyze the damage and make sure there aren’t any historic works of art, such as subtle paintings, that have been damaged due to the message, according to Hayde.
The National Park Service can apply a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine for that kind of vandalism, according to federal law.
Hayde told FOX31 officials will be far “more lenient” with those charges if the culprit decides to come forward.
It’s also just not federal parks that are struggling with vandals.
Geoff Jasper, ranger operations supervisor for the city of Boulder, told FOX31 that city crews try to eliminate any graffiti or vandalism on trails within 24 hours of receiving a report.
“It is incredibly frustrating,” he said. “We know that most people come here, and visit the parks because of their natural beauty, or habitat or the natural qualities that the park has, and then seeing something like graffiti or vandalism, it really detracts away from the beauty of the park.”
At Colorado National Monument, where “towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama,” park officials will use a “meticulous” plan to get the graffiti off to not further damage the monument, Hayde told FOX31.
Reposted from Security Management
In March 2013, a student at the University of Central Florida (UCF) was poised to carry out a gun attack in Tower 1, a dormitory that hosts 500 students. He planned to pull the fire alarm, then start shooting his classmates as the building was evacuated. When it came time to carry out the attack, however, his weapon jammed. As responding officers closed in, he took his own life.
While security cameras at the Orlando-based university captured the incident, first responders were unable to view video during the situation because it was hosted on a local server and getting to the recorder would possibly put them in harm's way. Similarly, during the investigative period, the building was locked down, and the video could not be accessed.
In the immediate aftermath of the active shooter situation, it took more than eight hours to get in touch with the person in charge of the video management system for the building, says Jeff Morgan, director of security and emergency management for UCF. The sworn campus police department ended up having to confiscate the local network recording device as evidence.
The active shooter situation, which highlighted the limitations of the campus video infrastructure, helped the university realize it was time to reevaluate its security technologies. "We knew we were one weapon jam away from our own Virginia Tech here at UCF," he says, referring to the April 2007 massacre that resulted in the death of 32 people in Blacksburg, Virginia. "That's when we realized we needed someone to come in and fix it. We can't have folks without access to those cameras when needed, and not being able to get a hold of people in the middle of the night."
Strategy. The department decided to hire a subject matter expert from the security world–someone who could bring in a mix of technologies that were scalable for the growing campus and user-friendly.
In December 2014, UCF hired Joseph Souza, CPP, PSP, as its assistant director of security. Souza says he was immediately interested in integrating the university's disparate video systems into one platform.
"We had 58 different camera servers run mostly by IT across the university, and there were no standards on how the camera systems were run," Souza notes. "There was no standardization on what cameras were purchased, recording resolution, frame rate, duration, or retention."
The access control system was also in need of an upgrade, he adds. "We had several different access control systems, several different key systems; none of that had been consolidated in any way."
Part of the security team's solution was to hire coordinators for both the camera and access control systems. The two hires were university employees who came from the IT department. "They had strong IT backgrounds but also security experience, so for me it was the best possible fit, because both technologies rely heavily on IT," Souza explains.
The security team began partnering with the UCF IT department to benchmark new products before buying them—a practice that continues. "That's something we do constantly," he says. "We evaluate new products, we establish and approve product lists, and then that allows us to implement cameras and access control for new construction."
Souza has helped his department get involved in construction projects on campus so that security is integrated from the start. "We've been involved at the ground level of planning and design," he says. "We attend the weekly meetings with the construction team and we make sure that all the security products are put in all the proper places with security in mind."
One such project is the university's new downtown campus in the Paramore district of Orlando. UCF is partnering with Valencia College to build an academic center, which will have a housing facility, parking garage, utility plant, public safety building, and academic structure. The security and emergency management teams were involved in the planning, design, and now construction of those buildings on the new campus.
The downtown district is being revitalized, and Souza notes that the project is not without its challenges. In the leadup to the campus groundbreaking, UCF partnered with Orlando Police, Orange County public schools, and Orange County emergency managers to increase security in the area. Together, they worked to expand contract security and police presence, as well as cameras and emergency call towers.
"It is already paying dividends, as our staff and students appreciate the additional security presence," Souza says, "and we have seen a decline in the nefarious activity in that area."
Video management. After the active shooter incident, UCF wanted to upgrade to one platform that could manage video across the entire campus. This would make upgrading units easier as well.
"In the past, we had a few hundred folks that had access to cameras, and if we needed to push an update or a patch, we had to go through every individual computer," Morgan explains. "We had disparate servers throughout the campus…a lot of them were reaching end-of-life, so we knew eventually we'd have to do an consolidation effort."
UCF put out a call for proposals to vet various video management system vendors, and brought in the finalists for panel-style question and answer sessions.
In April 2017, the university chose Pivot3's hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform, which uses VMS software from Milestone. "Pivot3 stuck out far and above everyone else's capabilities for what we wanted to do," Souza says.
The Pivot3 HCI platform consolidates servers, storage, and client workstations into one solution managed from a single administrative interface. It took UCF two months to migrate its old recordings from its various VMS servers to the new system, and completed the project in July 2017. The system has redundancy built-in, so that if hardware failure occurs, previously recorded video is protected. With several research projects and laboratories across campus, this type of data protection is crucial.
"On the maintenance side, if cameras go down, cameras need work, or lightning strikes–whatever it is–it's a lot easier for us to see what's down and repair it as soon as possible, with everything all in one platform," Morgan notes.
The university also has to abide by certain privacy requirements for some of its research and education initiatives. "We have a lot of applications where the cameras are used to help people train to be counselors," Souza notes, "and we have labs with cadavers where medical research is conducted." With Pivot3 HCI, the video server environment can be segmented to isolate those cases, and privacy rules can be applied.
Every user with access to video now undergoes training. "By and large, we no longer allow servers to export video," Souza says, noting that keeping a lid on video access helps the university better protect its students. "We put very tight policy around that, and training, to make sure our university isn't going to end up on a news story for misuse of surveillance systems," he says. The university limits exporting privileges to campus police and other law enforcement.
Cameras. With the new video infrastructure, surveillance has become a more user-friendly experience, Morgan says. The campus is better equipped to deal with any situation that may arise, from emergencies to everyday activities at a large university, because there is a single login to watch cameras across the entire campus.
The advantages of the new system recently came to light when campus police were tracking two suspicious individuals moving across school grounds. "When they traversed from one building to another part of the campus, we could stay in one logged-in environment, versus trying to log into two or three different areas to try to track them," Morgan says. "The new system has made a huge change in response, and a big impact on investigations."
The new system offers integrated mapping that displays available cameras in a specific location. "Now [officers] can just look at a campus map, click on a building, see what cameras are there, and click on that camera to pull it up," Morgan adds. "So you don't have to memorize where the cameras go."
In two to three years, UCF plans to expand its inventory to more than 3,000 cameras, including a greater number at the new downtown campus, which will be managed on the Pivot3 platform. The university has a mix of cameras from Axis and Oncam Grandeye.
One area where security has recently expanded camera coverage is Spectrum Stadium, where the UCF Knights play football. "We work every football game, including tailgating leading up to the game and post-game, to make sure there are no incidents," Souza says. Recently, 43 additional cameras were placed in and around the stadium, which holds 45,000 people.
The school partners with a company called CSC for event security at the football games. "When an incident happens, we're right on it with surveillance," he says. "We can do situational awareness, whether it's a fight or a medical incident. We're proactively monitoring the crowd for anything that's going on."
The last two years, UCF has played host to the Florida Cup, an international soccer tournament. Souza says the enhanced situational awareness is invaluable at that event. "It's a more excitable crowd, they are really excited about soccer, so they bring in the smoke bombs and get into fights in the parking lot, and fights in the stadium," he notes.
UCF was also able to take full advantage of the upgraded cameras during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, when then-Republican candidate Donald Trump visited campus, as well as then-President Barack Obama, who was campaigning for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. "We partnered with the U.S. Secret Service…we were also working with all of our law enforcement partners who worked with the candidates, helping them and giving them awareness of what was going on," Souza says.
Access control. In addition to the video server and camera upgrades, the university wanted to enhance several aspects of its access control system, including provisioning and deprovisioning of cards. Souza is leading an effort with IT and human resources for granting and revoking card access for students, faculty, and staff.
The campus is in the midst of a project to tie the HR directory to the access control system, "so we can have provisioning and deprovisioning of employees that ties them to their academic semesters, hiring and termination, or retirement of employees," Souza notes.
Smart cards for students and faculty and card readers were also upgraded. "Our form of access control was magnetic stripe readers, now it's HID iClass" Souza says, which are contactless cards that are swiped in front of a door reader. "Not relying on magnetic stripe is a huge benefit."
The university has a contract guard force responsible for locking and unlocking buildings that are not automatically controlled. They also check to ensure the buildings that are automatically locked and unlocked are properly secured.
Outlook. UCF has several ongoing security initiatives that it hopes to expand in the future, including its drone program, which was a major asset to the school during two recent hurricanes. UCF purchased a DJI Phantom Pro 4 drone and accessories, and used the vehicle to assess pre- and post-hurricane damage during Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017. The drone images were combined with data from cameras and access control systems to paint a holistic picture of how the storms affected the campus.
"After the storm, we provided our facilities damage assessment team with immediate images of damages across all of our campuses, then flew drones the day after the storm to get high resolution images of the overall damage to buildings, as well as debris and fallen trees," Souza explains.
The school has a student intern, certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, who pilots the drone and trains others who seek certification. "We want to use drones for security and emergency management, but also use them safely and securely, with no privacy concerns being violated or safety issues with them crashing into people or things," Souza says. "We're reaching out to many different universities and public entities, drone companies, and drone detection companies to try to form a base on what drones for education programs looks like."
This spring, UCF finished renovating a media briefing room into its new global security operations center (GSOC). The security team actually rode out Hurricane Irma in 2017 in the center, before construction was finished. The school included the word "global" because security can keep track of students and faculty who participate in programs abroad.
The GSOC has a large video wall that projects news, weather, pertinent alarms, and allows for control of digital signage across campus. There is also a conference room for briefings.
"We have the ability to track pinpoints on a map, track itineraries…and [use] a mass notification system to reach out to those students in whatever country for whatever incident may arise, whether it's a student that's sick, a large natural disaster, or terrorist attack," Souza notes.
Although the 2013 active shooter incident did not result in disaster for UCF, Morgan iterates that it spurred them on to make positive changes at the university, all of which ultimately strengthen its security posture. "We said, 'Okay, let's do what we need to do and be proactive–and let's try not to be reactive," Morgan says. "Now we have experts that can help us put the right solutions in the right places."
Reposted from Newsweek
The parents of a five-year-old boy have been hit with a $132,000 bill after their son knocked over a sculpture.
CCTV footage of the incident last month shows the child appearing to reach out to the sculpture at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas.
The boy, who was attending a wedding reception at the community center, according to CBS Local, appeared to attempt to prop up the art to stop it from falling, before it wobbled and hit the floor.
Days later, the insurance company representing the city of Overland Park sent the family a $132,000 claim. They said the piece, entitled Aphrodite di Kansas City, was damaged beyond repair, ABC News reported.
The insurance letter stated: “You’re responsible for the supervision of a minor child[...] your failure to monitor could be considered negligent.”
Sarah Goodman, the child’s mother, told ABC News she was “offended” she was called negligent, and said the exhibition was treated “like a crime scene" after her son knocked over the sculpture.
Artist Bill Lyons, who created the piece, told ABC News it was two years in the making, and was on sale for $132,000. He said it was beyond is “capabilities and desires” to mend it.
The boy’s parents argue the sculpture should have been better protected if it carried such a high price tag.
“It’s in the main walkway. Not a separate room. No plexiglass. Not protected. Not held down,” Goodman told KSHB.com. “There was no border around it. There wasn’t even a sign around it that said, ‘Do not touch.’”
Goodman told KSHB the bill is “completely astronomical.” Since the incident, her son has been having “bad dreams every night,” she said.
The City of Oakland did not respond to a request for comment. Sean Reilly, a spokesperson with the City of Overland Park, told KSHB.com the piece was loaned to the city and there is a “societal responsibility” for visitors to understand art should not be interacted with unless otherwise stated.
He told ABC News the community center has never had problems with artwork before. “We’ve not had this situation [...] we’ve not had kids climb on our pieces,” he said.
The family told KSHB they are now trying to work out how to foot the bill and may need to dip into their homeowners' insurance.
But the boy isn’t the first child to break an exhibit. In 2015, a boy believed to be around 5 years old smashed a 200 year old jug at the Christchurch Mansion in Suffolk, U.K. After museum staff fixed the jug, they launched a campaign to track him down and put him at ease.
Carole Jones, who was the head of Ipswich's museums at the time, told BBC News: "He was visiting the mansion with his family and this beautiful ancient puzzle jug was on quite a low window ledge.
"He knocked it off and it smashed into about 60 pieces. He was of course, absolutely devastated, and his family were really upset."
"We'd love them to visit again," she said.
Reposted from ABC News
Since the terror attacks that killed 130 people in Paris and Saint-Denis on Nov. 13, 2015, the iconic tower has been under constant surveillance. French soldiers and policemen patrol the site 24 hours a day. But the company that operates the tower, SETE, said the site still needed more security.
"The square of the Eiffel Tower was still, at the time, accessible to anyone very easily," Bernard Gaudillere, SETE's president, told ABC News. "Therefore we decided to build a new perimeter around the Eiffel Tower to increase the security."
The new perimeter will be unveiled to the public next month. But ABC News was given access to the construction site for a preview.
Temporary barriers were set up around the 1063-foot tower in June 2016. They are now being replaced by permanent bulletproof glass walls on the northern and southern ends of the landmark, and by metal fences on the eastern and western sides. Visitors will have access to the Eiffel Tower through these fences.
"The two glass walls are 10 feet high," Gaudillere said of the new, permanent walls. "They are bulletproof and very solid."
He also said 420 blocks will also be installed in front of the glass walls to prevent a vehicle attack like the ones that have occurred in New York and across Europe.
The new security perimeter, which costs $40 million, will be completed and unveiled in July.
But critics, including people living in the neighborhood near the Eiffel Tower, say that the walls will drastically change the appearance of the landmark, making it look like a fortress. Jean-Sébastien Baschet, the president of an organization called Les Amis du Champ-de-Mars, said in a statement last year that the new perimeter would affect local residents' access to the gardens near the tower.
"The privatization of the gardens located right next to the Eiffel Tower is unacceptable and incompatible with the notion of cohabitation, which is very important to our neighborhood," Baschet said in a statement posted to the group's website in May 2017.
Baschet did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
Others see the barriers as necessary to protect visitors.
"It will look much better than the temporary barriers that were installed two years ago, but most importantly, the security of our visitors will be increased, and this is our absolute priority," Alain Dumas, technical director for the Eiffel Tower operating company, told ABC News.
Gaudillere said the threat of terrorism at the tower is very real. In August 2017, a man with a knife tried to breach security at the Eiffel Tower. He was quickly surrounded and arrested on the scene by French police. No one was hurt in the incident but the tower was briefly evacuated.
After a difficult year in 2016 in which the numbers of visitors to the Eiffel Tower felt below 6 million people for the first time in 15 years, there has been a rebound.
In 2017, more tourists came back to the monument, Gaudillere said, adding: "We expect the upward trend to continue in 2018."
Reposted from the Seattle Times
Sometimes it seems like this city of 17,000 just keeps taking the hits.
You can find Aberdeen listed right there, on a website called, “Encyclopedia of Forlorn Places,” alongside Butte, Montana, the Packard Plant in Detroit and other economically depressed places.
But the latest hit wasn’t about the economy, although Grays Harbor County still has a 7.2 percent unemployment rate, nearly 2½ times that of King County.
The hit came from a disastrous fire last week that burned thousands of irreplaceable artifacts from the area’s hardscrabble history.
And history matters here in this gritty town still reeling from the collapse of the logging industry, and where working-class families have lived for generations.
The fire Saturday gutted the Aberdeen Armory Building, dedicated in 1922 and touted as “a source of civic pride and activity.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to Aberdeen Fire Chief Tom Hubbard.
The two-story structure housed the Aberdeen Museum of History, a senior center and low-income assistance offices.
Dave Morris, the museum’s director, was on the way to work when he got the phone call. “The building is on fire!”
The flames were 20 or 30 feet high, he remembers. The billowing smoke reached the clouds, carrying away the ashes of thousands of historical items that fed the flames.
“We were totally helpless. All we could do was watch the fire progress and basically chew up the building,” he says.
The main floor of the museum, some 11,000 square feet, was the exhibit area.
“Gone. Gone,” says Morris when talking about those exhibits. It was a word that he repeated often.
For Nirvana fans, and on news sites, the main interest about the fire was that a display about Kurt Cobain was destroyed. The grunge superstar was born in Aberdeen and lived in the area into young adulthood.
The museum had become a stop for fans who sought to visit the places with some connection to Cobain.
But the T-shirts, drawings and memorabilia on display never actually belonged to Cobain.
The closest thing to an original Cobain artifact on display was a couch that the teenager slept on while staying for about a year in 1985 at the home of LaMont and Barbara Shillinger. They were the parents of a couple of Cobain’s friends at Aberdeen High.
Cobain would have been around 18 and had left his home after an argument with his mother, according to numerous accounts of his early years.
Morris said the couch — which looked like it would have fit in fine at some budget motel — wasn’t cordoned off, so fans could sit or lie down on it and pose for a photo.
“Gone,” says Morris.
Looking at the armory from the outside, it’s hard to imagine the devastation inside.
The white concrete walls are intact. The building, after all, was constructed as an armory, and over the years was used by 12 different National Guard companies and battalions.
But drone video of the fire posted on social media shows the roof collapsed and exposed an interior of charred beams and rubble.
A photo provided by the city’s fire department shows the museum’s main floor completely blackened by the fire. Blue sky shows through the building’s roof. The floor is littered with scorched lumber and rubble lying in puddles of water.
For Morris, one of the big losses in the fire was the Seattle Post-Intelligencer collection of “Hairbreadth Husky” cartoons by the late Bob McCausland. Hairbreadth was a ragged-looking dog with a punky attitude.
Beginning in 1959, McCausland drew cartoons before and after each University of Washington football game, and garnered a devout following, including former UW coach Don James.
After retirement in 1981, McCausland moved to the area and drew cartoons for The Daily World in Aberdeen.
“Gone,” says Morris about the Hairbreadth cartoons.
He goes through the disastrous list.
“All the stuff from the unions. Gone,” he says. Until the collapse of logging, Aberdeen was a traditionally blue-collar town.
In 2016, Grays Harbor County went for Trump, the first time in 90 years that it hadn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate.
But in the museum were the relics of how in the early 1900s, this area was at the heart of the Wobblies — the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
“Longshoremen, shingle weavers, sailors, and electrical workers all struck alongside the mill hands. The immediate cause of the conflict was the low wages paid at the Harbor’s mills,” recounts the UW’s IWW History Project about a historic 1912 strike.
Sawmill workers regularly lost fingers, hands and arms to the swirling saws.
Loggers knew they could easily lose their lives. One said that there were “49 different ways to get killed in the woods.”
And wages were so low that a visitor recounted, “I have seen children — sons and daughters of the working mill hands — come to the backyard of the hotel and pick old scraps of meat and bread from the garbage cans.”
The destroyed boxes of IWW items in storage at the museum were largely uncataloged, and so what was inside them isn’t known.
The list of items lost in the armory fire continues. Burned was a historical switchboard — the kind where the operator manually connected callers by plugging phone lines into the correct circuit.
Next to the switchboard was an old photo of a young woman working it. Now elderly, she regularly attended an exercise program at the armory.
This week, both the state archives and Servpro, a fire and water cleanup and restoration company, have been lugging boxes out of the basement of the armory.
Photos and documents stored there are now under 4 feet of water from the firefighting efforts.
Even so, the damage could be worse, said Dann Sears, the museum’s archivist.
“Actually, we’re coming out pretty good on this,” he said.
Some paper materials that got wet have been frozen by Servpro, stopping any further damage. The next step is to put the paper in a chamber that turns the ice into a vapor.
The state archives was taking the heavily soaked and important materials. No vaporization chamber in this case; just simply hanging the stuff on clothes lines in a room set to 50 to 60 degrees and 50 to 60 percent humidity. It works.
The museum was insured for “replacement value of building and contents,” says Aberdeen Mayor Erik Larson.
But how much monetary value to put on that old Kurt Cobain couch? Or the Hairbreadth Husky originals?
“That’s going to be the difficult part,” says Larson.
Devastating fires are part of Aberdeen’s history.
In 1903, a fire destroyed 140 buildings in the center of town.
The Great Fire of 1918 that again destroyed most of the buildings in town.
In 2002 a couple of kids set fire to the landmark Weatherwax Building on the old campus for the high school.
On the museum’s Facebook page, a woman posted, “The museum will rise again!”
You get knocked down, you just get up again, that’s the Aberdeen way.
Reposted from the Toronto Star
It’s almost the stuff of comedy: A man wearing a dark jacket, pulled high to mask his face, slips unperturbed into an empty gallery, lifts a $45,000 Banksy print from the wall and strides almost casually out the same door he came in.
There was nothing urgent about the early-Sunday-morning theft, and why would there be? If not for the security cameras, it would have been the perfect crime, and not for any particular skill by the thief. Bright lights, an unlocked door and not another soul to be seen made “The Art of Banksy” — displaying some $35 million worth of the British street artist’s work on Toronto’s Sterling Road — about as forbidding as an all-night bus station.
Of course, bus-station standards are hardly sufficient for an art exhibition, said Steven Keller, a museum security expert based in Florida.
“Art exhibition security is somewhat unique in that instead of putting the valuable assets in a safe at night, we hang them on walls,” said Keller, whose Architect’s Security Group is the largest museum security consulting group in North America, and has worked with Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum. “Therefore, the building they are displayed in has to be well protected. Every access or egress point should have been staffed or alarmed, someone leaving with a picture should have been seen, and the item they were carrying examined.”
“If they left by a fire exit door, they should have been observed by CCTV and an alarm generated,” he added. “Someone should have been close enough by to respond. Obviously, none of this happened.”
Keller, who watched the now-famous security footage online, said such out-in-the-open displays of valuable material require alarm systems that “far exceed” the needs of virtually all other kinds of facilities. His security company, he says, “provides CCTV which is monitored and not just recorded, which apparently wasn’t the case in the Toronto Banksy theft, where no one intervened when they should have.”
This is the question of the moment: How could so much valuable art be left unmanned, unobserved and, apparently, unlocked? Toronto Police Services doesn’t appear to have gotten that far with its investigation. (An officer at the communications branch said he had “no idea” what was being investigated; the lead investigator on the case is off duty until next week, the communications desk said.)
Meanwhile, LiveNation and Starvox, the event-promotion companies that brought the show to town, haven’t had much to say either — a brief statement Thursday simply noted that the artwork, a print called Trolley Hunters valued at $45,000, “went missing during setup.” They’ve declined further comment, though they confirmed through a spokesperson that 213 Sterling Rd. did have at least one security guard on duty at the time.
The theft occurred at 5 a.m. on Sunday, three days before the opening of the blockbuster exhibition. Toronto police released the surveillance footage on Thursday. And so far, the thief remains as anonymous as the artist whose work he ripped off.
Reposted from Artnet.com
The cost could be more than $132 million, if "the Mac" is reconstructed after a second fire leaves the historic building a ruin.
Fire fighters have fought a blaze for the second time in four years at the Glasgow School of Art’s historic Mackintosh building. This time the destruction is far worse: construction experts fear that the shell of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s landmark building will have to be torn down as much of it is in danger of collapse. To rebuild “the Mac,” as it is known, could cost at least £100 million ($132 million), the Scotsman newspaper reports, “or double that,” according to Bill Hare, a professor of construction management at Glasgow Caledonian University.
The devastating fire broke out late on Friday night at the Scottish art school. Around 120 firefighters tackled the blaze, which has left the building a smoldering ruin. The fire spread with rapid intensity, damaging the Campus nightclub next door as well as the O2 ABC music venue. There were no casualties. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, visited the site and called the fire “heartbreaking.” She is reported to have said that the Scottish Government is ready to “do anything we reasonably can to help ensure that the building has a future.”
The fire in the art school started just as a £35 million ($46 million) project to restore the Art Nouveau building was nearing completion after a fire had destroyed the school’s Mackintosh-designed library in 2014. A sprinkler system was being installed as part of the restoration work. The 2014 fire was started accidentally by an art student’s project, when gases from a foam canister were inadvertently ignited. The cause of the second fire is being investigated.
One of the oldest art schools in the UK, Glasgow’s alumni include Douglas Gordon, Simon Starling, and Jenny Saville. It has produced eight Turner prize nominees and two winners: Gordon and Starling. There has been an outpouring of empathy from the art world in response to the fire. Scottish painter and former alumni Alison Watt took to Twitter among many other notable graduates. “My heart is breaking,” she wrote. “I just can’t watch the footage of Glasgow School of Art in flames. I feel physical pain. It’s unbearable…”
In 2014, the US architect Steven Holl completed a new building for Glasgow’s celebrated art school. Known as the Reid, it is across the street from “the Mack,” and escaped damage by the weekend’s fire.
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