Security is the state of being free from dangers or threats. Security is the state of been secured. Security is freedom from fear or damage. Security is safety and security is everybody’s business. Security is very important to every organization whether public or private. For any organization to achieve its objectives and goals, it has to be properly secured. Security is the protection of lives and properties or precautionary measures taken to keep something or somebody safe.
Our priceless heritage are those objects or artifacts that have value beyond any price. It means our heritage that are invaluable. They are quality and precious heritage. Our heritage are our inherited traditions, monuments, objects and culture kept in the museum for the present and future generation.
ICOM defines museum in 2022 as “A museum is a not for profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experience for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing”
A museum is a building which houses our historical, scientific, artistic or cultural heritage. Museum is a place where our priceless heritage are stored and exhibited.
WHAT IS MUSEUM SECURITY?
Museum security are those measures taken or put in place to keep both the museum buildings and it’s collections safe from such dangerous influences such as fire, theft, burglary, natural disasters, environmental elements, vandalism or damage. It is the protection of lives and properties of staff and visitors.
Museum security is very important because museum has dual nature, it is required to acquire, preserve material evidence of man existence for future generation while at the same time displaying same for the entertainment, education and enjoyment of the present generation.
According to Dr. JO Eborieme”Museum is the cultural bank of Nigeria”, so it’s security should be of paramount importance.
Protecting our priceless heritage is particularly a tough challenge for public museums and galleries. Museum face the conflicting dilemma of keeping artifacts safe, yet allowing millions of visitors a chance to see them. Private people can decide to keep their treasures locked up in a vault but the museums have just to do the opposite. The goal of the museum security is not to close its door but to make sure they are opened to visitors in a responsible manner.
SECURITY MEASURES TO PROTECT MUSEUM’S HERITAGE
Museums should have physical barriers like fence, burglary proof, gates, doors, and walls to prevent unauthorized entry to protect against theft and damage.
Objects like the Oba Memorial Head, bronze bell, Okpa, etc should be kept in glass showcases with lock to prevent theft and scribbling by children. Pictures and paintings can be securely hung to prevent touching.
Alarm systems can be attached to a museum buildings outer shell, windows and doors in case of fire outbreak and theft.
Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras with motion detention and infrared detection can continuously scan the outside premises and identify visitors.
How and where different objects are displayed inside the museum should also be a part of security planning. Museums should be located close to a police station and firefighting station. Museums should not be located on flood-prone areas.
Adequate lightings should be installed in the museum. Museums should be sited in an urban area. Objects should not be placed on the outer shell of a museum building. Manned guarding cannot do the job alone so other technology devices should be used.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS IN MUSEUM SECURITY
Financial constraint is one of the challenges of museum security. Because the museum is not for profit, it has to depend on the federal government, international bodies, NGO’s and individuals for funding.
Due to erratic power supply (electricity) in Nigeria, the CCTV cameras, alarms and flood lights might not be functioning always so museums require standby generators to power these facilities 24 hours a day.
Overcrowding is another security problem. Measures should be taken to curtail group tours and school visits.
Protecting our priceless heritage is a challenge for public museums and galleries. These institutions face the conflicting dilemma of keeping objects safe, yet allowing millions of visitors a chance to see them. So museum security is every staff business. Therefore every museum staff should be security conscious at all times. Museum security requires a lot of creativity and tailor-made solutions. Because most museums are housed in historic buildings, it is always difficult to install adequate security devices, so internal burglary resistant compartments can be used.
Finally, security must always be established according to the redundancy principle, which means that if any of the security precautions are tampered with, the remaining measures must be able to do the job.