The Three Elements of 
Museum Security

There are three elements to museum security. Once you know and understand these three basic concepts, you know and understand everything you need to know about museum security. The three elements are:

Access Control

Parcel Control 

Internal Security

Access Control--

If you can control who comes and goes, when they come and go, and where they go once inside, you will have achieved perfect access control.  The Museum Director may enter the building any hour of every day. An administrative employee can enter only on workdays during work hours.  The Director may go anywhere he wants including into the collection storage vault but I can not. A member of the general public can enter during public hours only, and is limited to public areas of the building.  This is access control.

Parcel Control--

If you can control what is carried into your museum and what is carried out, you will have achieved perfect parcel control. Keep criminals from removing  your collections and other property and prevent them from bringing in razor blades and spray paint with which they can cause damage.  This is parcel control.

Internal Security--

If you can hire only honest employees and keep them honest, you will have achieved perfect internal security. Keeping employees honest involves making the risk of internal theft just too great to attempt.

Everything that we do in museum security works toward controlling these three things. Locks, alarms, guards, barriers, window protection, etc. These all work toward neutralizing one or more of the basic elements.

The mission of the museum security department is to constantly reduce risks and vulnerabilities. Every resource must be dedicated to controlling these three elements.

If you can achieve Access Control, Parcel Control and Internal Security in a museum, you will have achieved perfect security. If not, all of your losses can be attributed to a failure to achieve one or more of these elements.

Steve Keller & Associates, Inc.

Museum Security Consultants