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Detail from Civil War-era letter from the exhibition MAIL CALL. Courtesy the Smithsonian National Postal Museum

 

Limited Security | Moderate Security | High Security

 

LIMITED SECURITY
The following exhibitions are designated Limited Security:

Limited Security Definitions
Limited security is the minimum level of protection and care required for certain SITES exhibitions. These include panel exhibitions containing no original artifacts or materials, and some photography exhibitions considered less of a security risk. Limited-security exhibitions may be freestanding or wall-hung. The following conditions must be met by organizations desiring to display limited-security exhibitions:

SPACE

  • Exhibitions may be displayed in a gallery or lounge area, not in a hallway. No SITES exhibition is to be displayed outdoors or in a tent or a temporary building.
  • Secure storage for crates.

PROTECTION

  • Supervision by guard, volunteer, student, or receptionist. Someone must be in the room with the exhibition at all times and may be performing other duties as well as watching the exhibition. No SITES exhibition is to be left unguarded at any time while open to the public.
  • Exhibition area must be locked and secure during closing hours.
  • Fire protection according to local ordinances and subject to SITES’ approval.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS

  • Direct sunlight should be diffused or eliminated to prevent fading of panels and photographs.

 


MODERATE SECURITY
The following exhibitions are designated Moderate Security:

Moderate Security Definitions
Moderate security is required for most SITES exhibitions that contain original works of art, prints, graphics, photographs, and in some cases, artifacts and specimens. Moderate security exhibitions may be freestanding or contain wall-hung elements; they may also include other structural elements or audiovisual components. The following conditions must be met to display moderate security exhibitions:

SPACE

  • Limited-access, gallery-type area. An open mall, hallway, or lounge area is not acceptable.
  • Locked, environmentally stable interior exhibition storage and staging areas.

PROTECTION

  • Guards or other trained personnel, in sufficient numbers to assure the safety of exhibition components, whose sole duty is the supervision of the exhibition while it is on display.
  • As warranted, locked and/or alarmed cases for small objects. Acrylic cases are acceptable for moderate security exhibitions, provided they are no less than 3/8 inch thickness, adequately alarmed (impact and/or tamper), and secured to the walls or base cabinets.
  • Exhibition area must be locked and secure during closing hours. Alarm and/or guards during night hours are preferred but not required.Handling of objects, if not actually by a registrar or curator, must be by a preparator, exhibition technician, or other persons trained in handling museum objects.
  • Fire protection according to local ordinances and subject to SITES' approval.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS

  • Temperature and light controls are required. Humidity control may be required. Standard levels are 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and 45 to 50 percent relative humidity. Light levels may be specified between 5 and 15 footcandles. Direct sunlight should be diffused or eliminated to prevent fading of panels and photographs.

HIGH SECURITY
The following exhibitons are designated HIGH security:

High Security Definitions
High security is required for exhibitions containing objects that are of special cultural significance, highly valuable, sensitive to light or climatic changes in humidity and temperature, or of an especially fragile nature. This includes archaeological treasures, antiques, works of art, and original materials, especially those made of paper, wood, textiles, jewels, gold, silver, and other precious metals. Exhibitions that include significant numbers of technical, audiovisual, or interactive elements may also be designated high security.

The following conditions must be met to display high-security exhibitions:

SPACE

  • Limited-access gallery of sufficient area and ceiling height to accommodate the exhibition.
  • Locked, environmentally stable interior exhibition storage and staging areas.

PROTECTION

  • Trained, professional guards in sufficient number to protect objects adequately throughout the time that the exhibition is on site: during unpacking, installation, deinstallation, and re-packing as well as during the actual showing of the exhibition to provide crowd control. Guards need not be armed.
  • Provisions to prevent the public from touching non-enclosed objects through an appropriate hanging system, the use of stanchions, rails, platforms, electronic devices, and/or guard supervision.
  • Locked and/or alarmed cases for small objects. Acrylic cases are acceptable for high security exhibitions, provided they are no less than 3/8 inch thickness, are adequately alarmed (impact and/or tamper), and are secured to the walls or base cabinets.
  • Handling of objects during unpacking, installation, and repacking by curatorial, registrarial, or conservation staff, or by trained and experienced museum professionals.
  • Exhibition area must be locked and secure during closing hours. Alarm and/or guard surveillance during closing hours is required.
  • Fire systems and other fire protection devices according to local ordinances and subject to SITES' approval.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS

  • Temperature and light controls are required for all exhibitions in this category. Light, temperature, and humidity must be adjustable to specified levels when required. Standard levels are 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and 45 to 50 percent relative humidity. Light levels may be specified between 5 and 15 footcandles. Direct sunlight should be diffused or eliminated to prevent fading of panels and photographs.



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