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2015 Conference

Approximately 150 participants convened in Washington, DC, including participants from South Korea, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Global participants also tuned in online from as far as Belgium and Egypt. While there was no formal theme for the conference, compelling presentations from Kristina Anderson and Cathy Lanier, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, provided first-person accounts of the terror of an active shooter scenario and the resilience required to both prepare for, respond to, and recover from such an event.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Time Talk / Speaker
9:30 a.m.

Year in Review

Bob Combs

This will be a fast-paced review of significant incidents that have impacted cultural properties throughout the world during the last year. We will learn from the misfortunes of others and explore practical steps that can be employed to safeguard our institutions.

* 9:30 a.m.

FBI Art Crime: 10 Years and Counting

Bonnie Magness-Gardiner

In 2003, the looting of the Baghdad Museum generated a discussion in the U.S. government about the need for a trained team of investigators to evaluate what happened and who was responsible for the looting. That discussion resulted in the authorization of the FBI Art Crime Team in 2004, and its implementation early in 2005. The original team consisted of eight agents located in field offices around the country, as well as two trial attorneys from the Department of Justice assigned to assist with prosecutions. Today, the team has almost doubled to 15 men and women located throughout the United States. Since 2005, the Art Crime Team has recovered 11,850 items of cultural property valued at more than $160 million. More importantly, prosecutions stemming from art crime investigations of theft, fraud, and conspiracy resulted in 88 convictions. Cases ranging from recovery of a Rembrandt self-portrait to incarceration of Rudy Kurniawan for faking vintage French wines illustrate the range of legal and cultural issues surrounding cultural property crimes in the last decade.

* Paired with Year in Review

10:45 a.m.

Worst Case: Protecting Museums and Collections During Armed Conflict

Corine Wegener

The looting of the Iraq National Museum in 2003 shocked the world and galvanized efforts in the cultural heritage community to prevent this type of disaster in the future. But despite efforts to improve security, training, and emergency planning, loss of cultural property during armed conflicts is on the rise. Corine Wegener, Smithsonian Cultural Heritage Preservation Officer, will talk about her work with collecting institutions in places like Iraq, Syria, Mali, and Egypt and how some of the measures taken in these cases can be integrated into your own disaster resilience thinking.

1:00 p.m.

A Look Back at the Navy Yard Shooting

Chief Cathy Lanier

DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier will share lessons learned at the Washington Navy Yard shooting on Sept. 16, 2013. Lone gunman Aaron Alexis fatally shot 12 people and injured three others in a mass shooting at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command inside the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast Washington, D.C.

2:00 p.m.

The Things Headlines Don’t Tell Us: Lessons Learned as a Survivor of the Virginia Tech Shooting

Kristina Anderson

As the world witnessed the tragedy that transpired on the Virginia Tech campus on April 16, 2007, Kristina Anderson’s life unexpectedly changed as the student gunman entered her classroom and within 12 minutes, committed one of the worst acts of violence in U.S. history. Shot three times while taking cover on a desk, Ms. Anderson will share a candid, firsthand perspective of her personal experience from the active shooting through the aftermath and immediate recovery. Reinforcing the importance of individual preparedness and continuous safety training, Ms. Anderson will offer key takeaways in ways we may each impact and improve safety within our institutions and personal lives to both prevent and prepare for random acts of violence.

3:30 p.m.

Protecting & Preserving Our Cultural Heritage: Creating Sustainable Relationships Through Collaboration

Lori Foley, Scott Merritt, & Sheila Palmer

Shrinking dollars and staff, expanding responsibilities, and growing vulnerability due to climate change all point to the need for an all-hands-on-deck approach to protecting our nations’ valuable and vulnerable cultural resources. Collaboration is the key to success, not just within sectors but across sectors. This session highlights an innovative program that has been bringing together cultural heritage and emergency management professionals at the local level — where all initial disaster response occurs — since 2003. The Alliance for Response (AFR) initiative has demonstrated an effective approach to establishing cultural heritage emergency networks at the local level, building cooperation within and among cultural institutions, strengthening preparedness efforts, and creating ties to local emergency management officials.

Lori Foley will provide an overview of AFR. Sheila Palmer will discuss the formation of the AFR NYC network and how its role in the cultural community evolved. She will also address the history and importance of establishing strong collaborative ties with the NYC emergency management community. Scott Merritt will discuss the role played by AFR NYC in coordinating preparedness and response efforts in the cultural community before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy. A lively exchange with attendees will explore the role that security managers and protective service organizations can play in strengthening such networks to ensure the protection of cultural property.

4:30 p.m.

An Update on the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Kinshasha Holman Conwill

The Smithsonian Institution’s newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), is under construction and scheduled to open in 2016. The new museum, the Smithsonian’s 19th, will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history, and culture. Although the mission and vision of the museum is one of education and history, the theme brings with it some unique security challenges.

At the April 2014 webinar, the Deputy Director of NMAAHC, Kinshasha Holman Conwill, presented the story of the museum. Today she will share an update. She will discuss its origins and history as well as the theme of the museum. She will explain how this theme can be considered controversial by some and how this presented security challenges to design and construction as well as the future operation of the museum. She and others will discuss how these security challenges, and other issues more common to cultural property protection, were incorporated into the design of the museum.

Please join us for this unique presentation that combines the history of America with the challenges of cultural property protection.

5:00 p.m.

Art Under Attack

Dennis Ahern

Protest and promotions, exploring some of the issues surrounding activists using iconic artworks as a platform to either promote their own interests or protest their dissatisfaction with particular causes or topic. The history of such action goes back a long way. In this presentation, Dennis looks at some of the cases and discusses some measures and responses we can consider by way of preparation, protection, and dealing with the impact of incidents of this nature.

6:30 p.m.


Hosted at the National Archives

We are delighted to be welcomed by the National Archives for an evening reception. The National Archives are guardians of some of the most valuable documents in the history of the United States, including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Discover this breathtaking building, explore the many exhibitions, enjoy libations, and connect with peers in this incredible neoclassic setting. Guests are welcome. Registration required.

Friday, March 27

Time Talk / Speaker
9:00 a.m.

Trends in Cultural Property Protection

Panelists: Steve Layne and Herb Lottier

The ASIS International Cultural Properties Council serves as the leading resource for education, outreach, and suggested protection for institutions dedicated to the preservation, presentation, and stewardship of cultural resources: thought, speech, action, artifacts, and built heritage; this includes museums, libraries, faith-based organizations, performing arts centers, and any cultural facility concerned with the protection of people, valuable collections, and other assets. Our panel of speakers will discuss the Council’s work as well as trends in cultural property protection.

9:40 a.m.

International Committee on Museum Security (ICMS): We Exist to Serve

Herb Lottier

Organized in 1974, the mission of the International Committee on Museum Security (ICMS) is to spread our vast experience with security best practices throughout the world. ICMS comes under the umbrella of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) representing 32,000 members from 137 countries. ICMS is one of 30 international committees with 161 members from across the globe. The board of ICMS organizes and orchestrates well-attended and successful annual conferences and workshops to accomplish their goals. Smithsonian Conference attendees will be invited to become members of both ICOM and ICMS.

10:00 a.m.

Benchmarking Study of Museum Staffing

Doug Hall

The Smithsonian Institution has completed a national benchmarking survey of the security organizations of cultural properties. The survey involved approximately 60 different museums, interviews with security professionals and consultants, and an extensive literature review. The survey’s intent was to gather data on trends and commonalities of security organizational structures, pay, training, weapons requirements, customer service requirements, uniform requirements, resource strategies (proprietary, contract, or hybrid staffing models) and other criteria against which cultural property security organizations can benchmark.

10:20 a.m.

Analytic Surveillance Technology: Predicting Behavior

Nicki Luongo

Finding the balance for providing security transparency, a positive visitor experience, and protecting the collection from damage and theft used to be a challenge. Now, envision an environment in which you could predict how the visitors would interact with the collection and take steps to minimize the risks of the behavior ( i.e., reaching up to touch the surface of a historic bed or using the platform of an object to try and gain a better view of what’s behind a priceless piece of furniture). Nicki Luongo from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) will share with us how the MFA leverages analytic surveillance technology to predict human behavior and then use the real-time data collected to make informed decisions about placement and protection of the collection.

11:00 a.m.

Collection Vulnerabilities. Deterring Insider Theft by Raising Risk of Detection

Tom Slade

There are many threats and vulnerabilities to collection material, with varying countermeasures designed to minimize the identified risk. Loss or damage due to natural causes such as organic infestation, earthquake, flood, fire, or harmful environmental conditions all have unique strategies to detect, prevent, or minimize damage. However, one of the most difficult vulnerabilities to detect and prevent is loss or damage by people given authorized access to collection material, whether they be security, facility, custodial, or curatorial staff, or visiting researchers or scholars.

Given that collection materials cannot be locked away due to the need for either public viewing or for scientific research, the challenges for security are substantial. How can collection materials be made available for research and education while at the same time be protected from loss or damage? People tend to fall into one of three categories: [1] The career criminal who is not deterred by threat of detection or apprehension; [2] The completely honest person who wouldn’t steal even if chance of detection was zero; [3] The otherwise law-abiding person who might be tempted to steal if the chance of being detected was low. This brief session will address strategies directed at the third category, the otherwise law-abiding person who has something to lose if caught.

* 11:00 a.m.

Working Together to Reduce Risk

Recent decades have seen great advances in our understanding of, and abilities to control, many diverse risks to collections. Building code improvements, together with advances in fire detection and suppression technologies are continually reducing overall catastrophic fire risks, at least wherever those advances are taken advantage of. At the other extreme in rate of damage, the effects of temperature, relative humidity, and acidity on degradation rates of paper together with costs of interior climate control are becoming well enough understood to let us optimize storage conditions for ongoing preservation. The presentation on deterring internal theft by Tom Slade is ample evidence of the ability of focused strategic effort in the security area to reduce the risk of loss due to theft.

Clearly, our ability to protect a collection from many, if not all, individual risks is improving. Still, being able to reduce total risk to a collection presents another level of challenge. It goes beyond being able to make incremental, or even major step improvements in controlling single risks. It requires professionals in our various specializations: security specialists, facility managers, fire risk engineers, conservation scientists, conservators, registrars, collection managers, information technologists, among others, to quantify the risks they are involved in controlling. It is only by doing this that we can judge the relative importance of different risks. Yet this is very difficult for any professional to do. All professionals hesitate to make quantified predictions to nonspecialists, especially in situations where they have not been able to assess all relevant factors in detail. This presentation invites the security professionals gathered in this NCCPP meeting to boldly contribute to an effort to model and quantify all security-related risks to collections.

* Paired with Tom Slade


Saturday, March 28

Offered by the International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection (IFCPP) in supplement to the Conference.

Time Talk / Speaker
8:30 a.m.
4:30 p.m.

Certified Institutional Protection Manager (CIPM)


The Certified Institutional Protection Manager (CIPM) program designates those professionals working in, or directly responsible for the protection of cultural, educational, and public institutions. This special category of IFCPP management certification includes security managers, visitor services, facilities managers, registrars, curators, librarians, administrators, or other management staff with duties in safety, security, and emergency preparedness.

For more info, please contact IFCPP at info@ifcpp.org.

8:30 a.m.
4:30 p.m.

Certified Institutional Protection Manager (CIPM II)

The Certified Institutional Protection Manager (CIPM II) certification is the next step in IFCPP’s industry recognized CIPM program, offering qualified managers the opportunity to further advance their cultural property protection knowledge. Graduates attain the highest designation in the field, joining the ranks of leading professionals across the globe.

For more info, please contact IFCPP at info@ifcpp.org.

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