A Dehua porcelain figurine stolen artefacts from the Oriental Museum in Durham

Does your museum have a media strategy for thefts?

Patrick Steel, 16.04.2013
Security webchat highlights need for preparation
Having a media strategy in place in case of theft is key to managing your museum’s reputation, and can help recover stolen items, according to the expert panel on the Museum Practice security webchat last week.

William Brown, national security adviser at Arts Council England, recommended having a pre-prepared media strategy and reporting line ready in case of a theft.

“Be careful what is said publically, and ensure staff know who the nominated press liaison person is,” he added.

Clive Stevens, managing director of Euronova Ltd, also recommended communicating a pre-planned media response to lenders and trustees, and linking the response to a recovery strategy.

Simon Winiarski, director of Russell Scanlan, advised that some insurers utilise the services of specialist PR companies to manage the media following a loss, so it is worth checking with your insurance company to see if this applies to your museum.

There was also discussion over the merits of revealing the value of an object that had been stolen, the difficulties of insuring museums and collections, how to train staff to deal with suspicious behaviour, whether the Scrap Metal Bill will be effective in reducing theft, and what security technology museums should have.