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  • October 15, 2015 10:23 AM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)

    By Stevan P. Layne, CPP, CIPM, CIPI
    Founding Director, IFCPP

    I once asked a museum director if his institution did background screening on its volunteers.  “Are you crazy,” he replied.  “If we did that, we wouldn’t have any volunteers.”   I’m not sure if that was an indication that none of them would pass the screen, or if none of them would submit to it.  

    All of us recognize the many benefits a strong volunteer program brings to an institution.  In many places, volunteers far outnumber paid staff.   Without the work they provide, some programs could conceivably be lost.   We forget, however, that volunteers are just “people.”  And people, given the right opportunity, steal.  People, with the proper motivation, take advantage of other people…financially, physically, even sexually.   It logically follows, therefore, that any “people” brought into the workforce, regardless of whether or not they are compensated, should undergo a reasonable screening of their background and character.  This exactly the language used by the courts in examining cases of negligent hiring.   We screen to protect the good people in the workforce, visitors, and other volunteers, from being subjected to our exposed to those who would take advantage of them, or cause harm.

    The level of depth of the screening should be dependent on the applicant’s exposure to people and access to assets.   ALL applicants should undergo a thorough check for criminal histories.  It should be asked on the application and verified by a records check.  This may be done directly through the courts or through a professional background service.

    If the applicant is serving to greet guests, has access to no keys, assets, or classes with minor children, then minimal screens may be performed.   The information on the application needs to be verified.  If a falsehood is discovered, the process is over and the applicant should be denied.  This includes employment history, driving record, education, licenses or certifications held.  Credit histories should be performed on all of those persons who will handle cash or accessioned artwork.

    Everyone should be able to account for their time, for no less than the past ten years.  You have to be somewhere….gainfully employed, in school, in the military, undergoing health care…or in prison.   Some records must exist, somewhere, which verifies this existence.  Women who were married and not employed should have access to tax records showing a joint return for the time period in question.

    If volunteers are asked to perform certain tasks with special knowledge or education, they should be trained identically to paid employees who perform those tasks.  The bottom line…Volunteers are worth their weight in gold.  Just be sure they’re not taking the gold with them….

  • August 05, 2015 5:37 PM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)

    An Invitation from Our Hosts:

    To all who devote their time, talent and resources to protecting the treasures of civilization, I applaud your efforts. Your collections may be in an enclosure requiring food and water, sitting quietly on a shelf waiting for that student or researcher to come and examine your pages, hang on a wall, sit on a pedestal or be the building everything else is stored in - regardless of what the collection is, we who have taken on the duty to protect and preserve these collections must come together and celebrate or successes. I extend a personal invitation to each of you to come, share and learn from one another concerning what works, and what doesn't. What can you expect from the 2015 IFCPP conference? An Excellent learning experience, surrounded by incredible architecture in a beautiful natural setting. This years sessions at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will emphasize collaboration - between museum departments and externally with other institutions and local agencies. Going it alone is not what will get us through the tough times, and challenges of day to day museum life. Large or small we need each other. Come, relax, learn, socialize and strategize with others - then return home refreshed with a useful bag of tools.

    I look forward to sharing this experience with you.  See you in October!

    Geoff Goodrich, CIPM II, CIPI
    Director of Protection Services
    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
    Check us out at:

  • August 05, 2015 5:33 PM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)

    IFCPP is very pleased to welcome aboard two new office assistants, Jennifer Davis and Mellany Coates.  We very much look forward to working with Jen and Mell, and are confident that our members will enjoy working with them as well.  Gwin Coleman, of SharpCo Designs, continues to provide outstanding IT consulting, web design, and graphic design.

  • August 05, 2015 5:32 PM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)

    IFCPP instructor and longtime contributor, Douglas McGrew, CIPM II, CIPI, CSSP (Director of Central Campus Security Services for the Ohio State University Department of Public Safety), was just awarded the Certified Sport Security Professionals designation by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi.  Congratulations Doug, and thanks very much for your continued devotion to raising the level of professionalism in the security industry!

    The CSSP certification focuses on advancing the sports safety and security industry by addressing the competency requirements of current security professionals and those related professionals in law enforcement, emergency management, government, public safety, human resources, and event management, among others.  The CSSP designation is awarded to individuals who meet the education and experience criteria, and who demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skill and ability by successfully completing the CSSP multiple choice examination.

  • August 05, 2015 5:31 PM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)

    In recent queries we have learned that many cultural institutions have no comprehensive, workable, or even viable disaster plan. Effective plans include thorough analyses of your state of readiness, an objective look at perceived threats, and a practical plan for mitigating threats and/or recovering from a disaster.  Less than half of the businesses that close during a disaster ever reopen.

    To address these issues in a practical manner, this two-hour workshop brings together recognized experts in Emergency Operations Planning to address elements of life safety, staffing, training, operations, agency coordination, evacuation, and asset protection.   Our panel of experts will listen to your concerns, and discuss best practices for resolving the specific issues that you face.  Participants will leave this program with an outline for formulating your own plan, responsive to the direct needs of your institution.  

  • July 29, 2015 5:30 PM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)

    Safety is certainly a concern for those attending public events, as violent incidents and copycat attacks continue to receive media attention.  IFCPP President, Steve Layne, was just interviewed by Southern California Public Radio following the recent shootings in Lafayette, LA. The question voiced by many, "is it safe to go to the movies?" And "what can theaters do to improve safety?"

    Our first suggestion to anyone visiting cultural and entertainment venues (or any other business) - observe emergency exits everywhere you go. Think about how you can get out quickly in an emergency, and what the alternative may be if an exit is blocked. Theaters have made some improvements, most of which are not visible to the public. More intensive entry screening helps, but it's labor intensive, and probably too costly for many entertainment venues. It is critical that we remain alert to suspicious acts and/or persons, and we do not hesitate to report these to management or law enforcement.  Are there creative measures we can take to encourage our visitors to do the same?

    While recent perpetrators appear to have acted alone, their behavior and actions prior to the incident may very well have alerted others to a potential problem. The ongoing publicity alone will spur others to imitate violent acts.  Encourage staff and visitors to report any activity where violent acts are threatened, on social media or in person.

  • July 29, 2015 5:28 PM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)

    Thanks to Donna Sack and her staff for their hospitality and excellent arrangements at the Association of Midwest Museums (AMM) conference in Cincinnati. Congratulations again to those attendees attending the Certified Institutional Protection Manager (CIPM) workshop, and our thanks to those attending our special program "Are We Safe," the IFCPP-sponsored session covering a variety of timely cultural property protection concerns.

  • July 29, 2015 5:23 PM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)

    Scheduled for October 27-October 31, we begin the event with a visit to the fantastic Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK.  After special tours and an outstanding evening networking event, conference participants will depart the following day for beautiful Bentonville, Arkansas, where our hosts at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art welcome us to their world-renowned institution. Attendees will marvel at this beautiful new museum, and learn in a superb and unique setting.

    Check out a bit of what’s in store for us at:

    Conference Sessions will include:
    CIPM Certification – New conference participants can earn industry certification with the only management-level professional designation offered in cultural property protection. 

    Topics include: Personnel Management; Fire Protection; Litigation Avoidance; Protecting Collections/Assets; Emergency Management; Technology Considerations; Workplace Violence Prevention

    Disaster Planning – IFCPP’s all-new interactive workshop. Leading experts will moderate a discussion group allowing participants to acquire input and creative solutions for your specific disaster preparedness and response considerations and concerns.

    Agency Collaboration – Our hosts at Crystal Bridges will be leading a multi-disciplinary panel of local emergency response agencies to discuss creative solutions for cooperation, preparation and response.

    Departmental Collaboration – Several Crystal Bridges team leaders will conduct a series of workshops and tours discussing challenges and success stories from a variety of collaborative efforts.  Learn how museum-wide cooperation and collaboration has been achieved, helping to make Crystal Bridges one of the world’s leading new institutions.  Plan to bring your own challenges to the table for group discussion and problem-solving.

    And More – Stay tuned for program updates as we finalize details for an outstanding new educational program…

  • July 29, 2015 5:22 PM | Gwin Coleman (Administrator)
    Thanks very much to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. for hosting CIPS officer certification classes on September 17-18, immediately preceding and in combination with the CIPI classes above.  For registration information, please visit:




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