ICMS 2017 Meeting Scheduled Speakers & Abstracts

Martha Tedeschi – Martha Tedeschi is the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums, a post she assumed in July, 2016. Prior to her arrival at Harvard she served as Deputy Director for Art and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she also enjoyed a long tenure as curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings.

A specialist in 19th-century British and American Art, Tedeschi has organized exhibitions and written in particular depth about the art of James McNeill Whistler, Winslow Homer, and John Marin and has frequently collaborated with conservators and conservation scientists. She received her BA from Brown University, her MA from the University of Michigan and her PhD from Northwestern University. Tedeschi was a 2012 Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership and served on the board of the Association of Art Museum Curators (2015/16). She is also the recent past president of the Print Council of America (2009-2013). A new member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, she has a keen interest in the training and preparation of curators and is a strong advocate both for object-based teaching and for building a more inclusive pipeline into museum professions.

Maureen Donovan – Maureen Donovan is the Deputy Director of Harvard Art Museums, a position she has occupied since 2010. She has been at the museum for thirty-nine years, with most of her career devoted to the Division of Collections Management, including serving as its director from 2006-2010. From July, 2015-June, 2016 she was Interim Co-Director of the museum.  She has a BA in Art History and English from Boston College.

Celene Ibrahim – Celene Ibrahim is a university chaplain, scholar, author, and public educator. She currently serves the faculty of the newly founded Boston Islamic Seminary, the first major Muslim theological school in North America. Ms. Ibrahim is widely published, and her contributions to increasing religious literacy have been featured on prominent forums including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, BBC, Public Radio International, and the Religion Initiative of the Council on Foreign Relations. A specialist in Muslim feminist theology, Islamic intellectual history, interreligious leadership, and theologies of religious pluralism, Ibrahim holds an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School and a BA in Near Eastern Studies with highest honors from Princeton University. She also holds an appointment as the Muslim Chaplain for Tufts University and is completing a PhD at Brandeis University with a focus on women in Qur’anic stories.

“Securing Human Connections: Displaying Empathy and Cultural Competency in and beyond the Galleries”

Museum security professionals shoulder a tremendous responsibility to guard and protect the invaluable artifacts, priceless historical treasures, thought-provoking interactive displays, and one-of-a-kind works that enable us to tell our stories, expand our knowledge horizons and make sense of our world. Yet, each person’s inherent human dignity is just as worthy of being secured as these objects. How can museum security professionals guard the material objects in their care, including the often-expansive structures that house them, while simultaneously protecting this intangible sense of human dignity?

Highlighting techniques for avoiding identity-based shame and the accompanying social pain, Ms. Ibrahim uses examples like women’s veiling to highlight best practices. The keynote invites attendees to reflect deeply on the impact of stereotyping and implicit biases on museum patrons and security team members alike. Through thoughtful, empathetic, and effective security practices, visitors and team members are ensured a positive and memorable museum experience

Angela Chang – Assistant Director of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies and Head of the Objects Lab at the Harvard Art Museums. For the past ten years, she has been involved with the planning of two major art moves, and the design and logistics of art spaces at the Harvard Art Museums. Prior to this project, she was a part of the Straus Center’s project team for the conservation and study of John Singer Sargent’s murals at the Boston Public Library. Her interests in the preservation of art works includes treatment and documentation of three-dimensional art and artifacts, research on artist materials and techniques, and understanding optimal environmental conditions for art storage, display, and transit. Angela earned her M.S. from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.

“Art Incident Monitoring at the Harvard Art Museums: A Collaborative Process”

The Harvard Art Museums reopened in 2014 after a six-year renovation and closure. The intimate spaces of its new galleries and anticipated growth in visitor numbers prompted concern about visitors’ frequent contact with art and the risk of damage. In response to this concern, a simple, collaborative program was devised by Conservation, Collections Management, Security, and IT to track and responds to gallery art incidents. The museum’s 46 security attendants record minor and major incidents on “Art Touch Cards.” Their notes are compiled, and the aggregate data are analyzed by a cross-departmental team, which identifies and diagnoses the objects suffering the most recurring incidents. Following these assessments, the museum has made effective changes, such as moving and revising labels and works of art, and adjusting Security posts. Data collected following these changes allows a way to measure the impact. In addition to reduced incidents, the program has contributed to light monitoring data, improved upkeep of the building, and, surprisingly, staff engagement.

Rob Greene, CEO, Fortecho Solutions Ltd

Paulina Florjanowicz is Director for the Department of Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. Previously, since 2013, she has been the Director’s Representative for International Relations at the National Institute for Museums and Public Collections (NIMOZ). From 2007-2013, Paulina worked for the National Heritage Board of Poland (NID), first as a Deputy Director for education and since 2010 as Director General. She is an expert and trainer in heritage and museum policy, heritage education, awareness raising programs, preventing crime against heritage and promoting the social and economic potential of heritage and museum sector. She is a member of numerous advisory panels on heritage and museum management on both national and EU level. She studied at Warsaw University, where she obtained a master’s degree in Archaeology of Late Mediaeval and Modern Times. She has been involved in both heritage research and management projects since the 1990s, and has worked for different culture and heritage oriented NGOs and public institutions in Poland. She is a member of ICOM’s International Committee on Museum Security since 2014, and member of its Board since 2016.

Ahmed Ibrahim, Security Manager, Harvard Art MuseumsAhmed has served security operations at Harvard University since 2009. A specialist in training a development, Mr. Ibrahim has won numerous awards, including a prestigious international recognition for his dedication to emerging security technology. Prior to his current position as a Security Manager at Harvard Art Museums, Mr. Ibrahim has held security positions in Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Real Estate. Mr. Ibrahim has also spent over a decade as a professional athlete and has served on the coaching staff for volleyball teams at Harvard and Princeton Universities. 

“Keeping the Balance: Empathy and Cultural Sensitivity in Security Operations”

As security professionals who work at museums, we have the great responsibility of ensuring safety and security for visitors, staff, and our collections. We interact with individuals from many different cultures and belief systems, individuals who in turn form their opinions of the institutions we represent in part through the impressions that we give. At the same time, our policies and procedures must be maintained for safety and security purposes. In this context, Staff training is key. How do we maintain the balance between our policy needs and the needs of visitors for a positive, enriching, and memorable experience?

In this presentation, Ahmed Ibrahim draws upon his years of experience in training and development to help you ensure that your staff are sensitive and effective in their communication with one another and with museum visitors.

John Gallagher, Vice President of Marketing, Viakoo, Inc.

Viakoo is an automated solution to verify video and access control system performance while providing continuous physical security compliance.  Viakoo transforms service and maintenance from reactive to proactive allowing you to get out ahead of issues.  Viakoo’s field proven and patented solution proactively eliminates the risk and cost of downtime fropm failures that go undetected.  With Viakoo you eliminate time consuming, costly, and ineffective manual troubleshooting procedures that lead to prolonged outages and missing video evidence.  With Viakoo users:

  • automate reliability and performance improvements
  • gain critical insight into physical security systems
  • capture valuable operational performance information
  • eliminate lapses in security coverage
  • automate reporting for compliance and auditing

Viakoo Inc. is an Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) company, located in Mountain View, California, USA.  www.viakoo.com

Mercy Kinyua, Research Scientist, National Museums of Kenya

Professional Preparation
Institution                                        Major                               Degree / Year
University of Western Cape, South Africa   Museum and Heritage Studies  Postgraduate Diploma, 2006
University of Nairobi, Kenya          Anthropology              MA / 2004
University of Nairobi, Kenya          Anthropology              BA / 1998

Employment and Appointments
Head of section, Cultural Heritage Department; National Museums of Kenya (2000-2013)

  • Program Manager, Kivulini Trust; (2013-2015)
  • Board Member, Institute for Culture and Ecology; (2014- Present)
  • Board Member, Kenya Museum Society(2015-Present)

Significant publications
Gakii, M. & Tindi, M. 2010. Meeting in Bars and Grills: Nyama Choma as a Place of Differential Conviviality. In Popular Snapshots and Tracks to the Past. Danielle de Lame and Ciraj Rassool (eds), pp.67-79. Tervuren: Royal Museums for Central Africa.
Gakii, M.2010. History of Kanga in East Africa. In Kiswahili Research and Development in Eastern Africa. Mombasa: Jor’s Publishers.

Synergistic Activities

    • i. Curated exhibition titled Kanga Stories: The cloth That Reveals at the Nairobi Gallery –2011.
    • ii. Due Diligence Research for Kenya Pipeline Company Line 1 Pipeline Replacement project-2017
    • iii. Baseline survey of ecological, socio-economic and cultural status of Kathita River ecosystem in Mt. Kenya East Region- 2013.
    • iv. Cultural Impact Assessment of KPC Line 1 Pipeline Replacement Project- 2012.
    • v. Cultural Impact Assessment of proposed wind power project in Kipeto, Kajiado –2011.
    • vi. Research on peace and conflict resolution among communities in Northern Kenya, a project funded by UNESCO – 2008

“Engaging the Public in Museum Security”

A fundamental challenge facing Kenyan society is to create political, economic and social systems that promote peace, human welfare and the sustainability of the environment on which life depends. Such systems are not easily created or maintained. This year, 2017 is an election year in Kenya and based on previous experiences, a very challenging period for the country.  Previously, security has been a sticky issue during election years. In 2007 about 1,300 lives were lost and hundreds of thousands of people got displaced following disputed elections. We believe that the country can best meet the challenge through initiatives by government institutions in collaboration with the private sector.

The National Museums of Kenya is one source of support for these initiatives. Towards encouraging cultures of participation and advocating inclusion rather than exclusion of marginalized and oppressed groups, the museums plays an integral role. Part of the measures to ensure that security is enhanced, includes the building of peace exhibitions involving the youth. Often, the youth are used to perpetuate acts of lawlessness especially at election time. And with a youth unemployment rate of nearly 35 per cent, the youth should have reason to hope for a better tomorrow. They ought to have a feeling of belonging.

The exhibition development process as well as the exhibition content plays a crucial role in uniting people. These exhibitions strengthen the capacity of local philanthropies, institutions and individuals and civil society to promote value systems which breakdown barriers and build new partnerships in the search for social justice, peace and well-being.

Pavel Jirasek, Director, Cultural Tech s.r.o. Stembersky Palace, Prague, Czech Republic

“Security in Historical Sites in Czech Republic”

Specifics of castles, churches and museums (as listed national heritage and holy places) and the security measures.

William Brown, National Security Adviser, Arts Council England

William took his current office in 2006 following 32years service as a Police Officer.  He advises at all levels in the UK and around the world for Government bodies, being responsible for assessing the security risks of buildings and sites which hold National Collections and their transportation to venues in the UK and worldwide and has spoken to international audiences in Russia, Japan, Copenhagen and China and last year he worked on projects in Malta and Italy.  His role is to enable displays of priceless works and of internationally prestigious material to be exhibited under grant of the UK Government Indemnity.

He is a member the National Museums Security Group and the International Police Association. He is a lead member on the Chief Police Officer’s Council’s Heritage and Cultural Property Crime Working Group and the Metropolitan Police Arts and Antiques Security Group.  He investigates losses from National Collections and crimes of heritage objects. He lectures on Security and Risks of Collections at UK Universities and manages a team of security consultants who support his work. In March this year he received a Commendation from the UK Police Chief’s Council in recognition of his contribution and outstanding hard work in Operation Griffin which resulted in 28 criminals receiving custodial sentences for the Robbery, Burglary and Theft of Chinese jade and Rhino horn from UK and European Museums and Auction Houses

“Protecting a Nations Collections – Sensitivity to Cultures in Museum Security”

Across the UK there are 23 Museums, Galleries, Libraries or Archives which are funded by the UK Government and offer free admission to all visitors. There are a further group which receives indirect funding via different Ministries and then 2000 non-government venues who borrow or lend loans in addition to or from their own collections. The UK in London is renowned for its Art Market and trends in the past five years have shown that objects such as Rhino horn and Chinese Jade which we used to view for enjoyment and learning as moderate value exhibits in a different ‘Underworld Market’ command huge demand and values.

The respect given to the object is diminished when objects are seen as currency by organized and contracted criminals engaged to get these objects using weapons, violence, intimidation and threats. When this trend was identified an International Crime Fighting team was set up in the UK under the title ‘Operation Griffin’ working pan Europe, USA and Asia to track and bring the offenders to justice.

Communicating the risks to all venues and the threat level was a problem the obstacle being a lack of knowledge of which venues held these objects in their collections and then persuading the Curators and Trustees of venues of these real live threats. Museum Professionals appeared initially to adopt a culture of ‘denial’ and complacency until events came closer geographically to them.

Irrespective of the successes to date crimes affecting these materials continue in Europe and through this paper and ICMS I hope to raise the awareness and profile of the continuing threat.

Louisa Onuoha, Louisa Onuoha is a staff of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria, currently working at the National Museum Oyo, where she doubles both as a museum education officer and as the Museum’s PRO. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, an M.A in Creative Arts from the University of Lagos, and a PG.D in Museum Studies from the Institute of Archaeology and Museum Studies, Jos all in Nigeria. She is interested in the collection, documentation and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. She has been involved in different activities in these areas overtime. She is also a member of ICOM and CAM. She has several publications to her credit. Amongst these are, YORUBA TRADITIONAL ART, THE SOCIO- POLITICAL RELEVANCE OF GELEDE MASQUERADE IN YORUBALAND, NIGERIAN LACE MERCHANTS. STORIES AND EXPERIENCES. She is currently a PH.D candidate in African Studies with a focus on the preservation of heritage sites and monuments in times of conflicts and the changing values.

ONUOHA KELVIN EKENE is an antiquities’ protection officer with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria. He has worked in three of the commission’s biggest museums where he has being involved in exhibition planning and design. He has his background in Computer science as well as museology. He has several publications to his credit and has been involved in putting up major temporary and permanent exhibitions in the commission. He is currently working with the Ministry of Home Affairs, culture and Tourism in Lagos state, where he is leading the team involved in the creation of museums in the state. He is a member of ICOM, CAM and other national and international organizations in the heritage and culture sector. He is interested in the collection and protection of cultural objects, exhibition planning and outreach programs.


Monuments and heritage sites are important aspects of our culture and heritage as a people. They hold for us the values and the very idea connected with defining self. In recent years, the need for heritage workers, such as museums, to operate an all-inclusive agenda has become necessary. In the face of current socio political, religious and cultural challenges in Nigeria, there has been a growing concern in addressing ethical issues in museums. Museum workers all over the world are beginning to develop cultural sensitivity and social responsiveness in their work to a degree unseen before. Nigerian museums are not left out. They cannot afford to be left out. This paper tends to examine the role of the government museums of Nigeria in the protection and preservation of monuments and sites, especially against vandalism, theft and abandonment. Recently, a major monument situated in the popular Brazilian quarters in Lagos – Ilojo Bar- was pulled down completely and reduced to rubbles by those who claim to be the descendants of the Olaiya Family, owners of the 19th century monument. In an earlier development, a part of Sukur landscape in Adamawa came under the attack of insurgents. These monuments are national and Unesco world heritage sites respectively and are under the care of the national commission for museums and monuments, the parent body of about forty government owned museums in Nigeria. This paper will look at what the museum is doing to sensitize the people about the significance of monuments and heritage sites so as to ward off future occurrences of vandalism and destruction of monuments and sites in Nigeria. How can the museums give appropriate consideration to represented groups and beliefs? How can these communities be incorporated into taking care of the monuments alongside museum workers? What programs are put in place in redefining the museum’s role in pursuing an all-inclusive agenda rather than keeping the communities off? The paper will further discuss the historical and artistic significance of these sites and what value it holds for the communities, what memory it holds for the people collectively and individually and why it is important to preserve it for the future. How the local communities interact with the monuments. It will proffer suggestions as to how the museum and other government agencies and heritage stakeholders such as the media, students, researchers, conservation professionals, local population, among others, can be actively involved in the preservation and protection of monuments and heritage sites. These issues amongst others will be addressed in this paper using National Museum Oyo and National Museum Esie as case studies. It will be in three chapters with an introduction and conclusion. It will also make use of photographs.

Cecilia Ngugi

“Sensitivity to cultures in Museum security: An eye witness account”

West Turkana basin is part of a large and well known Turkana basin which contains a large number of unique palaeontological and archaeological sites. These sites are distributed across the landscape as well as vertically through sediments deposited at different times. Recently, oil exploration works undertaken by various companies in collaboration with the government of Kenya, confirmed the availability of oil reservoirs in the region. These discoveries have only rendered the Paleontological and archaeological sites more vulnerable to destruction during the exploration and exploitation of this resource.  The National Museums of Kenya, which is the custodian of these sites has had to balance between the security of these sites, development agenda and the communities who are the true keepers of this heritage.

This paper highlights a few incidences that I have personally encountered as a museum staff during various field expeditions working with the oil exploration companies such as Tullow and the communities living in these areas. To maintain security of these sites and to enjoy a cordial relationship with the Turkana community, the museum has had to device acceptable sensitive ways which have now been fully embraced by the developers and the community.

Willem Hekman, Secretary ICMS

Born in 1945, joined the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. He retired as brigadier-general in 1998.

Till 2004 he worked for the European Association of Historic Houses for the upkeep of private historic houses in Europe.

From early 2004 he worked as Head of Security and Security Advisor of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. His mission was to improve the standards of the security organisation in the museum and to co-operate with Dick Drent (Head of Security in the Van Gogh Museum) in a project of creating one Central Control Room for (at least) two museums.

From 2010 till 2016 he has performed the duties of chair of ICMS and since 2016 as secretary. During this period many conferences and workshops in different countries were conducted; he is the editor of and co-writer of the Handbook for Emergency Procedures of ICMS which is now translated into 6 languages.

He is married with Karen; they have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.  They emigrated from The Netherlands to Canada in December 2010

“Terrorist threats change museum security?”

We see threats and actions by terrorists almost every day and everywhere in the world.

Museums with their large crowds of visitors are “soft targets” for these criminals. The damage done to cultural institutions in the past years is tremendous and beyond any repair. In the Middle East many objects were destroyed for no reason at all and will never be replaced. When these actions happen in a museum in the civilized world, the reactions are pouring in from all sides, but preventing actions by the museum staffs are impossible due to restrictions by administrations of the different countries.

Security staff is in many occasions restricted in their measures when visitors claim that their faith is in jeopardy by these measures. A clear and determined policy by the directing staff of museums and supported by their national administration is needed to diminish the threats by terroristic perpetrators.