Guideline 16.3

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Guideline 16.3: Design strategies are used to enhance security

What are the security advantages of a well designed exhibit case?

A case affords the most effective form of protection while still allowing an object to remain on exhibit. Even when other security strategies, such as security staffing and sensors, are used, a case provides an extra layer of defense. The barrier of a case provides a high level of physical protection from handling and incidental touching. And opportunistic theft is almost eliminated by the use of cases. Furthermore, a wide range of security options can be designed into an exhibit case, including a dual locking system, tamper resistant fasteners, case alarms, and shatter-resistant or bullet-resistant security glazing.

[For more information on cases and mechanical deterrents, see Standard *.]

When must a case be utilized for security reasons?

A sturdy sealed case, securely bolted to the floor or wall, should be used to display high-risk objects, such as national treasures or objects of unusually high monetary value or political sensitivity. Unobtrusive protection can be provided by alarm and sensor units incorporated into the exhibit case design. A lender may require use of a case in the loan agreement.

When open exhibit is unavoidable, as in a furnished historic house, it may be possible to secure small objects to larger ones or to architectural elements, when this can be done without damage. And replicas can be used to replace small, easily-pocketed items.

[For more information on cases and security, see Standard *.]

What design strategies can aid security?

  • Allow clear pathways through the exhibit to ensure clear lines of sight to deter theft or tampering.
  • Use psychological barriers (such as raised platforms, ropes, and floor markings) to deter vandalism.
  • Secure all portable objects to prevent theft and accidental bumping:
Mount objects to panels or shelves
Attach mounts used to display small objects to panels or shelves
In open exhibits, secure small objects to larger ones or to architectural elements when it can be done without damage.


[For more information on mounts see Standard *.]

What architectural modifications can aid security?

  • Eliminate windows and add bars to remaining windows
  • Limit exits and entrances to the exhibit space and where necessary replace internal doors with security rated doors.
  • Upgrade locking systems and key differently from the rest of the facility to limit the number of staff authorized to enter the exhibit.