Cultural Property Security: Protecting Museums, Historic Sites, Archives, and Libraries

By Daniel J. Benny, CPP, PCI; Reviewed by Glen Kitteringham, CPP

***** Cultural Property Security: Protecting Museums, Historic Sites, Archives, and Libraries. By Daniel J. Benny, CPP, PCI. CRC Press;; 232 pages; $79.95.

While the focus of this book is cultural property protection, the author uses a “paint by numbers” method that allows the reader to use the asset protection process in most, if not all, other areas requiring security. In this case, the paint-by-number approach works, outlining a plan that highlights all the necessary stages to create and implement a security program in a clear, no-nonsense style.

The author begins by introducing cultural properties and classifying them as museums, historical sites, archives, and libraries. He then identifies and explains various threats facing this sector and details the various physical security measures. Physical security for cultural properties is mostly the same as for other businesses, but here they are examined from the cultural property perspective.

The book goes on to discuss security department organization and operation, safety and fire protection, and emergency response. While he alludes to it, one of the few areas that he does not specifically identify and discuss is the documentation for security staff to adhere to, such as post orders, standard operating procedures, and emergency response plans. However, this minor omission does not detract from the book’s overall quality.

Multiple appendices guide the reader to cultural property resources, and provide physical security, guard force, and key control checklists. This book serves the dual purpose of introducing the reader to cultural property protection as well as providing a refresher for those tasked with protecting cultural properties. While this is a very much a U.S.-centric book, the principles and practices discussed can easily be exported around the world.

Reviewer: Glen Kitteringham, CPP, has worked in the security industry since 1990. He is president of Kitteringham Security Group Inc., and consults with companies around the globe. He is a member of the ASIS Commercial Real Estate Council and ASIS Foundation Research Council.



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