In recent years there has been an increase in protests and demonstrations at cultural properties. All protest activity, whether inside or outside your institution has the potential to disrupt operations. The impact upon operations may be minor or very substantial, depending upon the issue under protest and the composition and prior tactics used by the particular group. Having a pre-planned and flexible operational response is essential to protect the safety of visitors, staff and collections. This session will explore the range of issues to be considered in developing a security demonstration plan. It will include discussion of many options, i.e. staffing and positioning of security officers; prior discussions with protest leaders and police; designating a controlled area where cooperative non-violent protesters may be allowed to gather; temporary closing of entrances or exhibit galleries; re-directing visitors away from protesters; preventing entry of protest objects that cause alarm or create risk to people and collections, and considerations regarding the involvement police action. A panel of five museums that have experienced demonstrations both inside and outside their institutions will provide an overview of how they handled their incidents, and what worked well and what didn’t work as well as expected.
Director of Security, The Whitney Museum of American Art
Associate Director of Safety and Security Operations at the American Museum of Natural History
Chief Security Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Senior Director of Security and Safety, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City