Risk: How Many Artworks Will Be Damaged This Year?

In response to protestors announcing they are planning more disruption, Ecclesiastical has issued new guidance to help brokers speak to their heritage clients about how to protect artwork and exhibits. The situation is a difficult one for many curators of artworks since the Police are reluctant to get involved and tend to spectate at the protests. Even when arrests are made and charges brought most Net Zero zealots are freed within weeks to carry out, or help organise, yet more damaging protests.

In addition, many woke employees in the public sector also agree with the protestors, so are quite likely to enable, rather than physically deter, any attacks on artworks that are hundreds of years old. Perhaps the only solution is long term storage? In the meantime, Ecclesiastical offers these tips;

In November, Just Stop Oil demonstrators announced they are considering slashing famous works of art to get their message across. Among the protests last year, demonstrators threw soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting and glued themselves to the frames of several masterpieces.

Ecclesiastical is encouraging brokers to speak to their heritage clients about the importance of being vigilant and how to take proactive steps to help protect artwork and exhibits from attacks.

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said:

“As the UK’s leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings, we’re passionate about protecting Britain’s heritage. Last year, high profile climate protests against iconic artworks caused significant damage. There are a number of measures heritage organisations can take to help protect art from the risk of attacks from protestors. Inspecting bags at entrances and exits, securing priceless art behind glazed panels, and installing proximity alarm systems can help to deter attackers. It is also important to train staff and volunteers to recognise and report unusual visitor behaviour.

Brokers have an important role to play in helping their heritage clients identify and manage their risks and we encourage them to engage with heritage organisations to review their security arrangements on a regular basis and help them to take steps to protect artwork and exhibits from attacks.”

How to protect artwork and exhibits from attacks: 

  • Position stewards in any high-risk areas so they can promptly respond to any incident.
  • Train staff and volunteers to recognise unusual visitor behaviour. Perpetrators may plan their attack, completing reconnaissance visits first. Suspicious or abnormal activity should be immediately reported to security or senior staff.
  • Stewarding arrangements should include bag inspections at entry point and exit points from the premises.
  • Consider introducing arrangements for visitor bags to be deposited at entry, to restrict the potential use of materials or objects that may cause damage.
  • Introduce a visitor behaviour code on what is expected from them during the visit, including no touching of exhibits. The code should indicate visitors might be asked to leave if they do not comply.
  • Paintings of particular note should be protected by a glazed panel to help minimise damage from an attack.
  • Items of significant value or interest could be roped off to act as a physical barrier. These areas can be supplemented by proximity alarm systems providing immediate alerts to a steward if an area is encroached.
  • Restrict visitor numbers by only allowing a maximum number of people in an area at any one time.
  • CCTV can provide a valuable deterrent against damage or theft. System recordings should be retained for at least 30 days.
  • Adequate lighting can discourage criminal actions especially in areas less frequently visited or patrolled. Sensors can highlight movement in these areas drawing the attention of stewards and security staff.
  • Arrange for stewards to check the condition of items before the premises open or close to identify any damage that may have incurred during the last 24 hours with a view to introducing additional precautions or even removing the artwork.

Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a range of risk management support and guidance to help heritage organisations manage the risks they face. For more information visit www.ecclesiastical.com/riskmanagement

About alastair walker 10924 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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