dcsimg Activists and Art: Protecting Our Cultural Heritage - National Conference on Cultural Property Protection Skip to main content

2023 Conference


Activists and Art: Protecting Our Cultural Heritage

1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

| Wednesday, September 27

The Greek philosopher Archilochus once said that “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training”. That statement still holds true today as we all must train ourselves and staff on how to mitigate numerous evolving threats. Emergency Management training exercises are great tools to assess your security plans, procedures, and capabilities. We developed a tabletop exercise focused on responding to Climate Change Activists, who have been targeting artwork at cultural institutions. Climate Change Activists have conducted targeted attacks since last year to bring awareness to climate change and its destructive impact on the planet. The attacks have caused damage to the artworks and disrupted museum operations. The scenario of a Climate Change Activist protest taking place inside of the museum was plausible due to the Intelligence gathering conducted and information sharing with Security professionals from other museums. We chose a time and location that would be realistic and challenging for the museum operations. The current policies and procedures, security technology, incident response, and external support were incorporated in the exercise to assess how effective they would be in responding to such an incident. The exercise concluded with gathering feedback from participants, which is then included in an after-action report to memorialize the training and identify strengths, areas of improvement, and recommendations. We developed a Deployment Plan in preparation for the Climate Change Activist protest we had advanced intelligence on, which leveraged the lessons learned from the tabletop exercise and our operational capabilities. Two (2) videos will be presented during the presentation; one depicting a re-enactment of a protest in a gallery and the other showing an actual protest that took place inside the museum.


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