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The Museum Association Security Committee was founded as a committee of AAM by E. B. Brown, Director of Security for the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth. It was nurtured along by Bob Burke, Director of Protection Services for the Smithsonian Institution. Both were subsequently honored by AAM as 2006 Inductees into the Centennial Honor Roll for their security outreach efforts.

Both men understood that people drawn to the museum profession are often far removed from the day to day issues and realities of security through most of their careers in the arts, then suddenly find themselves working in an institution that holds great intrinsic, cultural and artistic value and importance and soon recognize their inadequacies for dealing with the day to day demands of security and fire protection. This may be a stereotype, but perhaps not.

In museums we hang our assets on the walls and invite anyone from the very well-to-do to the homeless to approach them and enjoy what they have to offer. It is very difficult for security experts to decide how much security is enough--and how much is too much--and for the museum director without a formal security background, this must be a daunting task.

Museum security managers are part of a security continuum. We are the generals of a gentle army of diplomats who must deal with everyone who comes to our institution, allow them access, but make sure that they do no harm. On our left is the accounting manager who secures our financial assets and on our right is the registrar or collections manager who is responsible for knowing where every item in our collection is at any given time, of maintaining the records pertaining to the collections, and moving the assets securely across the world.

We in security are their army, part of their team, and we work with others on the team to secure our employees, visitors, collections, buildings and other assets. Just as this is perplexing to the museum director outside the security profession, this can be perplexing to us, as well. So we come together through this committee to provide support, exchange information, and ideas and decide exactly how much security is enough--or too much--so we don’t waste limited resources.

We, the security committee of AAM, are here to serve the museum community and to learn from them.

Committee Officers May 2011 thru May 2012

Chair: Robert Carotenuto    rcarotenuto@nybg.org

Vice Chair: Michael Kirchner michael_kirchner@harvard.edu

Webmaster:  Steve Keller  webmaster@securitycommittee.org

To send general correspondence to the committee or to ask for help, please contact the Committee Chair.

The objective of this committee is to provide you with help in the area of security, safety, fire protection and the management of risks. This sometimes means referring you to volunteer experts but sometimes means recommending a product or service provider by name. After all, there aren’t all that many makers of alarms for museum paintings or security mounting hardware for frames. And it doesn’t do you much good if we tell you that you need a specific technology but don’t steer you to products we have found to be the best suited for your specific solution.

We will not knowingly commercialize and we will never profit from our recommendations. The committee members who have offered help have all agreed not to promote their product or service to you if they provide one. If you have been referred to a vendor, consultant or service provider by this committee and you want information about their service, the burden is on you to ask for it. They have been asked to refrain from offering you their product or service unless you ask for information.

Help us if you feel that a committee member has attempted to profit from their position on this committee but understand that this is a limited market and some products or services may be the only ones that meet your needs. The issue is not whether a member of the committee recommends a commercial product or service. We WILL do this. Often.  The issue is whether a member of the committee offers you THEIR product or service without first being ask by you for this information or receives something of value for doing so.

This committee is product or service agnostic. But we freely recommend products or services by name that the referring expert thinks you need or that the referring member recommends for your specific problem. But we try hard to respect the AAM Ethics on this subject.  Please tell us of someone crosses the line.

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