Employees at desktop computers monitor surveillance live to protect the past.
- By Rick Ramsay
- May 01, 2013
With a history dating back to the 1850s, the Sioux City Public
Museum has evolved from its original focus on natural
science to a broader emphasis on preserving the area’s heritage,
offering a variety of educational programs, events
and historical exhibitions valued at more than $2 million.
After outgrowing its former location in a prominent Victorian-era mansion,
the museum moved to a new downtown site in April 2011. The modern, openconcept
building has become one of the premier cultural destinations in Iowa
Siouxland and beyond.
Administrators and museum exhibition staff had several security goals in mind,
including protecting the visiting public, deterring criminal activity and safeguarding
the museum’s assets.
With more than 5,000 visitors each month, the museum has made public safety
and asset protection top priorities. Chosen for its advanced management features,
ease of use and exceptional image clarity, the Avigilon high-definition surveillance
system is key in helping the museum meet its security goals.
Museum officials chose an Avigilon high-definition surveillance system using
the Avigilon Control Center NVMS that allows them to monitor the system live
throughout the day from their desktop computers. A permanent monitor at the
main reception area observes visitors as they enter and exit the permanent exhibit
space. The museum installed 15 Avigilon HD 1 MP and 2 MP cameras in the main
exhibit areas, hallways, key entry points and loading dock.
The high-definition surveillance system has played a critical role in helping the
museum ensure public safety and protect its valuable artifacts from damage and
theft. The system delivers a lower total cost of ownership, greater image quality
and reliability, and requires less maintenance. The museum also has been able to
reduce insurance premiums, more effectively protect itself against the threat of
false liability claims and more easily meet the strict security requirements of traveling
exhibits that attract new audiences. The administration has noticed a marked
reduction in trespassing activity since deploying the high-definition system.
Located in the heart of downtown, the museum is a 55,000-square foot facility with an outdoor plaza, a loading dock
at the rear, and a skyway connected to
“Because of the size of the building,
as well as its location in an area known
for attracting a transient crowd, we
wanted an advanced, high-definition
surveillance system to monitor people
coming and going from our facility
around the clock,” said Steven Hansen,
the museum’s director.
Based on research and a strong recommendation
from the Sioux City facilities
manager, Hansen chose Electric
Innovations, a local provider of surveillance
system design, installation and
service who installed the system.
“We needed an advanced, high-definition
surveillance system that would
provide broad coverage, overcome
architectural challenges in our openconcept
building, and remain unobtrusive,”
Hansen said. “Providing excellent
local support, Electric Innovations has
installed the best quality surveillance
solution possible to deliver optimal system
Better than Analog
Without a permanent security staff, the
museum’s administrators are responsible
for the facility’s security, in addition
to other operational responsibilities, so
ease of use was a key requirement.
“The high-definition surveillance
system is very simple to use, providing
each of us with a variety of camera
views right from our desktop, making
it much easier and less time-consuming
to monitor throughout the day,” said
Deanna Mayo, administrative assistant
at the museum. “Because each user can
select relevant camera views from their
own desktop, we can ensure broader
coverage of the museum at all times.
“While our needs are pretty basic, we
can quickly and easily identify people
and events because of Avigilon’s simple
and intuitive user interface. Avigilon
Control Center provides full control
over surveillance video playback, making
it easy for users to quickly retrieve
evidence and speed up response times.”
“Avigilon Control Center software
is 1,000 percent more effective than our
previous analog-based system,” Hansen
Hansen and Mayo also have been
impressed with Avigilon’s image quality,
which makes it easier to identify
events with greater accuracy.
“I recently spoke with the captain
of the police department who is very
pleased that we have invested in the
high-definition surveillance system,”
Hansen said. “We are located in an area
that has caused concern for the police,
and we have noticed a marked reduction
in trespassing since deploying the
high-definition surveillance system.”
The system has played a critical role
in helping the museum ensure public
safety and protect its assets.
With the knowledge that activity is
being accurately captured around the
clock, museum administrators and patrons
alike can enjoy a greater sense
of security as they experience the region’s
“Most traveling exhibits stipulate
strict security guidelines before they can
be displayed in a new location,” Mayo
said. “With the Avigilon system in
place, we are in a much better position
to host new exhibits and share the latest
collections to attract
This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Security Today.