Registrar Support


Watch for feature articles on the following topics over the next few months:

Collections in Transit

Completing and Interpreting the AAM Facility Report’s Security Section

The Movement of Collection in and Out of the Building

The Object Removal Notice

Other topics coming June 2011!

When we say security is everybody’s business, we aren’t kidding. But few in a museum have greater direct responsibility for security than the security manager, registrar and director of accounting. Together we monitor a wide range of museum assets from the money and intrinsic assets of the corporation to the collections and everything in between.

Because money is processed as it is, the primary role of protecting the money is handled almost entirely by the accounting personnel. We in Security provide support in a range of ways from doing background checks on their employees to escorting cash as it moves through our public areas but generally the assets handled by the accountants are almost entirely processed by them. We simply assure that they have a secure environment in which to do their work.

Our contact with the Registrar is a bit more involved. The Registrar is the person who knows where every accessioned object is at any given time. They often control the objects in storage and in transit and arrange for security in a number of ways. We have involvement with them often. Every time an object moves in and out of the building we are involved. We often assist them with transportation of collections off site or liaison with law enforcement when major collections come and go.   But our involvement with the registrar is more involved. We often are asked to assist with the preparation of our institution’s facility report or to review and interpret the facility reports of others who want to borrow or collections. We help secure collection storage and we sometimes provide escorts to secure shipments. While the Registrar is often the one who negotiates the contract for a loan, we implement the security requirements agreed to and sometimes even assist in the negotiations regarding security requirements.

As any experienced museum security professional will tell you, the registrar is our greatest ally. Historically, the registrar has been almost universally the single greatest supporter of our security programs in our museum.

In this section we ask the Registrar’s Committee to share their thoughts and ideas with us and to teach us about their problems and needs so we can better assist them. Come back often as this section grows with new material.

The Security Continuum

Coming Soon

The late Bob Burke, Director of Protection Services for the Smithsonian, used to tell a story of visiting a very rural museum in a remote part of the world. Seeing that they had no security, he asked how they keep their treasures secure. The museum director pointed to a carved mask on the wall and said that no one would dare break in and steal anything because the mask would inflict a curse on them.

If it was only that easy. Security in a modern museum involves teamwork. Sometimes we are asked to do magic with a limited budget and small staff and we often do. We do it better if we can give and receive support from the others on the “Security Continuum” with us.  If it was only as easy as installing a curse mask. It is said to have little effect on Californians!

Great News!  The Registrar’s Committee has agreed to supply content for this section. Come back soon. We will post items as they come to us.