A full security review will be undertaken at Norwich Castle Museum

Norwich Castle Museum defends its security set-up

Gareth Harris, Issue 112/04, p11, 01.04.2012
Lord Nelson artefacts stolen from museum only weeks after rhino horn theft is thwarted
Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service has defended its security arrangements at Norwich Castle Museum following the theft in February of five items linked to Lord Nelson.

Objects including a 19th-century gold mourning ring, a box of medallions and a saucer from Nelson’s tea service were reported stolen by a member of the public.

A gang also attempted to steal a rhinoceros horn from the museum in February, but staff and a group of visiting curators foiled the attempted theft.

Jonathan Dunning, branch secretary of the Unison union, said: “It did come to Unison’s notice that at least one former interpreter, now visitor services assistant, brought the issue of the lack of gallery invigilation to the notice of the Norwich museums manager a week or so before the rhino horn incident, so there are certainly staff concerns on this matter.”

Vanessa Trevelyan, head of Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, stressed that there had been no reduction in security and invigilation personnel following a staff restructuring.

She added: “We have recently been given a clean bill of health by the national museums security adviser.

“Prior to the theft of the Nelson material, we had already placed an order for additional CCTV coverage in some galleries as part of a general upgrade in our security systems.”

Trevelyan said a full security review would be undertaken.

Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service needs to save £650,000 over four years. In February, councillors rejected plans to switch the service to trust status.

Meanwhile, two Buddha statues were stolen from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Holywood, County Down, in February. Three men smashed a glass cabinet and removed the figurines, which date from the mid- to late-19th century. Police are still seeking the objects.


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31.05.2012, 09:26
Dear museum friends,

with regard to the present debate concerning thefts from the museums, I think that the financial directors of the museums would benefit by puting themselves in the position of the perpetrators. Look upon your collections as treasure chambers from the point of view of unethical international collectors. Museums are commonly sitting on huge monetary values of artwork and antiques that represents an enormous temptation for "bandit collectors" and plain villons. Many museums are unfortunately less well protected against theft than many private homes. Look upon your security with new eyes my friends.

Klas Stoltz
Stockholm, Sweden.