Sunday, February 26, 2012

Museum security

Greek museums to increase security after thefts

Greece’s Culture Ministry says it is taking extra security measures at museums across the country after two major thefts in as many months netted antiquities and paintings by 20th-century masters.

The ministry said Thursday that a task force set up to review security at museums and archaeological sites recommended increasing surveillance at archaeological museums, improving guard training and upgrading closed-circuit TV and fire detection systems.

Last Friday, two armed robbers broke into a museum in ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, making off with 76 bronze and pottery artifacts dating from the 14th to the 4th centuries B.C. and a 3,200-year-old gold ring.




This brief account offers hope that a systematic long term effort will be made that can have a real impact upon the presently inadequate state of museum security, not only in Greece but elsewhere (including the USA).

There is every reason to believe that today's technology offers many possibilities for security improvements at far less cost than increasing the numbers of guards. What is needed to address the problem is not only more funds, but more efficient use of funds. Also, the acceptance of responsibility for achieving an effective result, not merely for "doing something."

The safety of monuments, archaeological sites and ancient artifacts held in museums must not be allowed to become a hostage to political and social objectives (for example providing jobs to unemployed Greeks as guards).



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