Museums all across the United Kingdom are on heightened alert after warnings of a “severe and imminent” threat of attack.
The Arts Council England in conjunction with the Scottish Council on Archives issued a frightening warning to museums all across the United Kingdom last week: Be prepared for a “severe and imminent” threat of attack. While the wording of the warning suggests acts of terrorism, in fact the threat seems to be more on the side of thievery rather than destruction or loss of life. William Brown, Art Council England’s National Security Advisor, said that museums needed to take extra precautions in securing their vaults and collections with “the best available defense against any attack.” He also warned that museum staff should be “extra vigilant to visitors paying undue attention to collections.”
Although the cause for alarm has not been made public, the threat is presumably based on intelligence information received by undercover sources. Further, the Scottish Council on Archives acknowledged that known organizations and individuals have been spotted making reconnaissance visits to a number of museums and other institutions across the United Kingdom. As the world economy continues its recovery, the fact remains that many institutions like museums have seen enormous cuts in government funding, making them particularly vulnerable due to aging security systems and waning staff.
The warning has museums and smaller institutions on heightened alert, and many have used the opportunity to ensure that all alarms are functioning properly and that cases are cleaned to ensure forensic reliability. Let’s all hope the warning proves effective.
To learn more, visit The Art Newspaper.
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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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