Museum Security and Protection: A Handbook for Cultural Heritage Institutions

Museum Security and Protection: A Handbook for Cultural Heritage Institutions

Museum Security and Protection: A Handbook for Cultural Heritage Institutions

Museum Security and Protection: A Handbook for Cultural Heritage Institutions


The ICMS Handbook is acknowledged as the international standard text for basic security procedures. It was first published as A Basic Guide to Museum Security, and is now fully revised, enlarged and updated. The manual covers: general principles security, theft and burglary: security personnel; training; collection management and transport; disaster planning; fire and environmental hazards; checklist of security procedures. It is designed to operate in all conditiones adn sizes of museum, not merely those with elaborate electronic security. It stresses that good basic principles are teh key to effective protection from hazard.


In 1974 the International Council of Museums approved the establishment of this International Committee on Museum Security for the improvement of cultural property protection worldwide. In 1977 the Committee published Museum Security in English, and in 1981 published Museum Security Survey in English and French. In 1980 Museum Security also appeared in Spanish. This committee thanks the International Council of Museums for their support of these publications.

At the ICOM Triennial Meeting in Mexico City in 1980, two ICMS members, Mr Sam Adeloye of the National War Museum of Nigeria and Mr Robert Burke of the Smithsonian Institution, drew committee attention to the protection requirements of cultural institutions in developing nations, particularly those in tropical and technologically undeveloped nations. At the 1981 ICMS committee meeting in Zandvoort, Holland, the two formed a Developing Country Working Group or Subcommittee to examine protection requirements in developing nations. At the 1982 ICMS committee meeting in Ottawa, Canada, the Subcommittee announced their intentions to conduct a survey of protection conditions in developing museums. At the 1983 ICMS committee meeting in London, England, the Subcommittee conducted the survey attached as Action Guide 1C. Early in 1984, the Developing Country Subcommittee reviewed the survey's results and concluded that the problems of developing institution protection programs are similar in developing institutions of developing and developed nations. At the 1984 ICMS committee meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, the ICMS Publications Subcommittee reported on the survey's results.

In 1985 the two subcommittees reviewed how the survey's results might be used for instruction. That same year Robert Burke and Samuel Adeloye wrote Manual for Basic Museum Security to communicate the basic principles of cultural property protection for persons in developing museums everywhere. In 1986 the ICMS committee published the book in English: it enjoyed great success and is now out of print. The book was printed in Portuguese in Brazil in 1988 and has been translated into French and Chinese.

The ICMS committee planned to prepare a revised publication in English and French in 1989. ICMS changed its committee plans to work cooperatively with ICOM's new publications program under Mme Alexandra Bochi. The ICMS Publications Subcommittee prepared this publication which demonstrates current technology and techniques, provides more action guides of practical use, and

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