World Class Security
Museum upgrades system to protect rare, valuable art
- By Mary Wilbur
- Dec 01, 2011
Dallas, Texas, considers itself a world-class city. Whatever
the qualifications, the arts district in the city is certainly
world class, and, therefore, the security must also meet
The Dallas Museum of Art is located in the heart of one of the
largest urban arts districts in the world. It houses a collection of more
than 24,000 works of art from around the world and plays host to at
least 600,000 visitors. Inside the facility, there are a variety of interactive
displays and traveling collections of priceless art, spanning all
ages of time.
Cameras in Place
The museum has about 175 Vicon cameras in place, including some
60 PTZ cameras; about half are fixed-dome. Keith Walker, owner and
general manager of Security 101 in Dallas, served as the integrator
and said all the head-end equipment was replaced but existing cameras
“Some of the cameras are IP-based, but many are still analog,”
said Lance Childers, DMA’s director of security. “We are updating
as we can. These cameras feed into two servers, both on our backup
As the museum security department upgrades its system to a network-
based system, the main thought is to provide a video management
platform with a proven track record of reliability and performance
in a key high-security environment. To Childers, the security
department within the museum is considered a separate entity, and
each of the departments within the facility is set up as a client. For
the security department within the museum, the goals for the new
installation are a more user-friendly system for the officers, an enhanced
ability to isolate and record incidents, and increased capacity
and options for configuring monitors. They also know that with the
integration of IP video, they will experience a great improvement in
the quality of the video recordings.
“There are two primary objectives that we hold fast to, including
providing an educational opportunity for our guests,” Childers said.
“The other is preservation of the art itself.
“The art is very fragile. In training, I often compare the canvas
that paintings are on to a washcloth or dishtowel, a year old or 10
years old. Some of our canvasses are 100 to 200 years old, or more.
“Our choice to help run the cameras, both IP-based and analog,
was to go with Salient Systems CompleteView. They offered us a hybrid
capability and approach to transitioning from analog to IP camera
technology, which allows us to be protected as we upgrade and
expand our video security system.
“By upgrading to CompleteView, we have been able to integrate
video and access control platforms and provide features such as video
verification of access control events and alarms.”
Security 101 got involved via a telemarketing campaign last year,
which brought the company to the attention of Childers. “We felt we
were in a good position with product and support, and that’s what led
us to pursue the security upgrade.”
Too Much Love
Most people who visit the art museum do not do so with the intent
of doing harm to the art, but inadvertently sometimes things happen.
“In their enthusiasm, for example, sometimes they get too close,”
Childers said. “Either they will reach to touch it, or even close examination
of it could result in moisture from their breath getting on the
art. We ask the guests to enjoy the art from further back, rather than
up so close, possibly causing damage to the art.”
That’s where CompleteView comes into play—protecting the patron
and the art, and also providing security to the museum and an
enjoyable experience for today’s visitors and future visitors.
“When protecting such valuable assets, immediate notification of
events becomes important,” said Brian Carle, product manager at Salient
Systems. “The Alarm Client and Pop Up Monitor provide realtime
alerts of motion or alarm activity. Audio alarms can accompany
live video of the events, ensuring guards will not overlook incidents
on critical cameras.”
As integrators know, no installation is without its challenges, and
the integration at DMA is no exception.
“Our first challenge was that the existing system had to remain
functional during the upgrade process, given the security needs of the
museum,” Walker said. “Then we had to be flexible enough with the
installation to be able to respond to unexpected challenges and the
need for quick substitutions of equipment in a few areas.”
Back to Business
DMA is truly world-renowned when it comes to art. Security at the
museum has taken a front row, and it’s all managed by a video management
system that has enough power and traction to stay on top of
all security applications. The venue’s security helps
create a world-class experience for visitors but also
for staff, who are now able to do their respective
jobs with peace of mind.
This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Security Today.