Museums should not underestimate the role that security plays in creating an outstanding experience for their guests. Just as with an efficient entrance procedure at busy events or working air conditioning on a hot summer’s day, you only notice the true value of top-class museum security team when it’s not there.
Yet, as the demographic of the typical museum-goer changes in the modern day, so do the methods of creating an optimal security team, including the need for security booths located at strategic points throughout the museum property.
With museum needs and technology changing all the time, it’s important for museums to constantly keep an eye on modern trends in the industry. The Art Institute of Chicago, which hosts 300,000 works of art, is an example of an institution that has embraced these trends to create an improved experience for its 1.5 million annual visitors.
Below are two examples of how this famous establishment delivers security that goes above and beyond.
Museums are in the service industry, and the security team is no different than curators or customer-facing staff in that regard. That’s why the Art Institute of Chicago security team regularly collaborates with these individuals to ask ‘how can we serve people better?’
This collaboration extends outside the museum too. Art Institute of Chicago has strong relationships with law enforcement team at every level throughout the city, including the FBI’s art theft division. It also works closely with event organizers to ensure that an overload of visitors has no detrimental effect on security operations.
For example, when the annual Lollapalooza Festival heads into town, the two parties share information throughout the event. Often, additional fencing, equipment, portable security booths, and personnel will be deployed in these situations.
Security staff are encouraged to give their own feedback as well. Many suggestions on signage, way-finding, and ticketing at the Art Institute of Chicago were made by security staff lower down the career ladder.
In 2016, one officer suggested that a small ticket booth be deployed at the entrance of a temporary Vincent Van Gogh exhibition, as so many visitors were being turned away from this entrance to buy tickets at the main entrance.
This idea demonstrates the kind of forward thinking that could encourage other museums to install security shacks at new areas to maximize protection in ways that were previously not considered.
Museum security today is ever-changing to keep up with advancements in technology and new demands for patrons’ safety and well-being while on-site. Following the example of some of the top museums can provide insight and ideas for how to achieve optimal security at any location.