Museum Risk Management

There is much advice available and an excellent Security Manual has been produced by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Security Group (Now ACE). In addition there is the Museum Security Network who provide much helpful information.

When assessing risk one of your inputs should be theft statistics. The following may be of help.

In the UK in 2000 there were 42 reported thefts from Museums and Galleries from about 2700 organisations. The statistics are similar now, this has been a major change since the 1980's.

This all means there is a one chance in sixty of a theft occurring in any one year per establishment. The impact of this is much more than the loss. It can sometimes involve danger to staff or the public. Often it will cause an organisational trauma where staff lose trust in one another and wonder who tipped the thieves off or worse was it one of them who did it?

Those thefts can be broken down into the following categories:

Thefts from:

Display Cases

Open displays


Other displays

At night

From stores

Long timescale*











64% of thefts were from displays during the day. Over the past 30 years the pattern of crime has migrated from night-time and fraud to snatches during open hours.

* unfortunately often aided by museum staff

As with most security matters the investment in night-time and control security has solved some of the problem and some has been displaced to less well protected hours.

Since 2000, reported crime has decreased but the trend towards daytime crime has increased. 

The security team at Arts Council England (ACE) provide excellent security advice (which we follow too) to museums and galleries (often as part of an application to the Government Loan Indemnity Scheme). They might suggest you contact Euronova as a reputable supplier of products to give a cost effective solution to improving day-time, display security.

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