Secure the Perimeters

Secure the Perimeters

Every major metropolitan area in the United States has a museum of one sort or another. According to the government, there are more than 35,000 museums in the United States. The types of museums are as varied as the states they call home.

One thing they do have in common is security. All museums have some form of security in place to protect and secure their presence.

At the National Museum and American History, there are security measures in place to ensure visitors’ safety and the protection of the objects in the museum. Visitors will be greeted upon entry by one of several security staff who will conduct a thorough but speedy hand-check of all bags, briefcases, purses, strollers and containers. All visitors are required to walk through a metal detector. Those who are unable to go through the metal detector will be hand-screened with an electronic wand by security staff.

The National Park Service has an extensive security protocol for its numerous locations nationwide, though they do stress an extensive layered approach.

Overall responsibility for protecting the park’s museum collection rests with the superintendent, while museum and law enforcement staff share direct day-to-day responsibility. Nevertheless, all park employees––permanent, seasonal, salaried, or volunteer––are part of the park’s security system and have security responsibilities that should be reflected in the park’s standard operating procedures.

A comprehensive security system combines policies, procedures, personnel and hardware to protect museum collections from unexpected losses caused by crime, negligence, fire, or other catastrophic events.

There are no cookbook solutions for security problems, and no single recipe will turn out a perfect security system every time. Each park must develop its own system. Every park is unique, faces different threats, has different short-term objectives, and has different resources available. While security concepts are mostly common sense, applying them effectively requires care, consideration and experience.

In the museum setting, guarding the perimeter is vital. The best way in which to avoid interfering with the art experience, while keeping the art open and accessible, is by controlling the perimeter. Protecting the exterior of a museum leads to a more relaxing interior. To support these efforts, metal detectors and bag checks are a notable means to reduce the risk of damage within gallery walls.

When visitors’ bags are checked or they are advised to leave their belongings at the entrance so that accidents are less likely to occur. Nevertheless, to effectively guard the perimeter, a security threat assessment must be conducted to determine potential threats to the museum’s operations. During an assessment, any vulnerabilities the museum may have will be noted. The necessary measures to secure and safeguard against these vulnerabilities will also be presented.

At the National Air and Space Museum, the commitment is to visitor safety. The security staff have measures in place to keep you and the objects of the museum protected. Upon arriving at the museum you can expect a full security screening similar to what you might experience at the airport, except you can keep your shoes and belts on.

Here’s What to Expect

X-ray. Bags, jackets, briefcases, purses, containers, and pocket contents will go through X-ray machines.

Metal detector. Visitors will be asked to go through a metal detector. Those who are physically unable to do so will be hand-screened with an electronic wand.

Security staff. Keep in mind, the professional staff is here to help visitors.

At the National Museum of African American History and Culture, everyone’s security and safety are paramount, and all visitors are required to pass through screening at the entrance to the Museum. During the security process, you are greeted by one of our security personnel who conduct a thorough but speedy hand-check of all bags, briefcases, purses, strollers, and containers. All visitors are required to walk through a metal detector. Those visitors unable to go through the metal detector will be hand-screened with an electronic wand by security staff.

America’s museums house the treasures and heritage of our country’s fabric. You know there is security in each of these facilities, and you have to hope they worked side by side with a knowledgeable security professional for equipment installation. Protection of our nation’s story is paramount, and sadly, completely necessary to preserve the past.

This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Security Today.


  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Busy South Africa Building Integrates Custom Access Control System

    Nicol Corner, based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, South Africa, is home to a six-star fitness club, prime office space, and an award-winning rooftop restaurant. This is the first building in South Africa to have its glass façade fully incorporate fritted glazing, saving 35% on energy consumption. Nicol Corner (Pty) LTD has developed a landmark with sophisticated design and unique architecture by collaborating with industry-leading partners and specifying world-class equipment throughout the project. This includes installing a high-spec, bespoke security and access control system. Read Now

  • Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • FEP GameChanger

    FEP GameChanger

    Paige Datacom Solutions Introduces Important and Innovative Cabling Products GameChanger Cable, a proven and patented solution that significantly exceeds the reach of traditional category cable will now have a FEP/FEP construction. 3

  • Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden Door Controls is pleased to announce that, in response to soaring customer demand, it has expanded its range of ValueWave™ no-touch switches to include a narrow (slimline) version with manual override. This override button is designed to provide additional assurance that the request to exit switch will open a door, even if the no-touch sensor fails to operate. This new slimline switch also features a heavy gauge stainless steel faceplate, a red/green illuminated light ring, and is IP65 rated, making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use as part of an automatic door or access control system. ValueWave™ no-touch switches are designed for easy installation and trouble-free service in high traffic applications. In addition to this narrow version, the CM-221 & CM-222 Series switches are available in a range of other models with single and double gang heavy-gauge stainless steel faceplates and include illuminated light rings. 3

  • Luma x20

    Luma x20

    Snap One has announced its popular Luma x20 family of surveillance products now offers even greater security and privacy for home and business owners across the globe by giving them full control over integrators’ system access to view live and recorded video. According to Snap One Product Manager Derek Webb, the new “customer handoff” feature provides enhanced user control after initial installation, allowing the owners to have total privacy while also making it easy to reinstate integrator access when maintenance or assistance is required. This new feature is now available to all Luma x20 users globally. “The Luma x20 family of surveillance solutions provides excellent image and audio capture, and with the new customer handoff feature, it now offers absolute privacy for camera feeds and recordings,” Webb said. “With notifications and integrator access controlled through the powerful OvrC remote system management platform, it’s easy for integrators to give their clients full control of their footage and then to get temporary access from the client for any troubleshooting needs.” 3