While most of the protests and marches were peaceful, civil unrest led to looting and property damage in cities like New York.
There are 130 museums in the five boroughs of New York City, according to city data, including some of the most famous museums that feature works of world-famous artists.
Starry Night is located in Vincent Van Gogh near Claude Monet’s Water Lily Pond pool in the halls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are both home to Pablo Picasso’s drawings and other invaluable collections.
For many, museums are a cultural haven.
“It’s not too late, but you must have a plan”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art alone sees more than 7 million visitors a year.
“A lot of people in the city see museums as safe places to have a meaningful conversation on difficult topics, sometimes art is a bridge to do this,” Marian Lamonaka told CNN.
Lamonaka is Associate Gallery Director and Chief Curator of the Bard Postgraduate Center in New York and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Art Museum Trustees Association.
Art protection expert Stephen Lin told CNN that cultural institutions should have a plan and coordination with local agencies, including applying federal law to plan for potential emergencies.
Lin, the founding director of the International Foundation for the Protection of Cultural Property, is one of the security experts who work with cultural institutions across the country whose leaders are trying to protect their invaluable but currently empty institutions.
“We say it is not too late, but you must have a plan. The police are overwhelmed, they cannot be everywhere. They cannot handle everything,” he said.
Lin said that most large corporations often have secure storage space in another location entirely to protect the most valuable businesses. IFCPP now warns museums to remove exhibits from the main floor because it is likely to be the most vulnerable in the event of a break-in.
At least one of the city’s museums, the Whitney Museum of American Art, has risen onto its windows from floor to ceiling.
Lin says he tells his colleagues to take these precautions if they can, but the cost is high. For those organizations that rely on daily ticket revenue, it is likely that they cannot afford the resources due to coronavirus-related losses.
Controversy over controversial cultural facilities
Controversial cultural facilities in museums and public spaces have been the focus of discussion in recent years.
Margaret Holbein Ellis, president and fellow of the American Conservation Institute (AIC), said: “It has always been really a problem, what to do with the offensive effects of certain groups. This is no longer different today from Charlottesville in 2017.” CNN.
Conservatives preserve cultural heritage facilities but also repair them when damaged.
Holbin Ellis told CNN that some conservatives have recently faced harassment to repair damaged installations.
“We have received reports that conservatives feel threatened – or that they have been threatened – when performing their professional duties to protect and preserve cultural heritage. We must keep our members, as well as antiquities, safe from harm and harassment. Professionalism Holbein Ellis said,” Decision-making is a matter for him. An emotional impact on the conservatives who must remain neutral while carrying out their duties. ”
George Wheeler, associate professor of Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania, told CNN that conservatives work under the Ethics Act to preserve all cultural heritage.
Wheeler suggests that conservatives and managers may consider postponing facility reforms in public as protests continue each night.
“These things can be taken care of, but how and when to deal with these issues.”
Wheeler cautions against the hasty removal of facilities and public monuments as politicians have done in some cities.
Wheeler said: “The decision may affect the integrity of the governor, affect community awareness, and these particular groups of decision may not be easily reversed.”
Wheeler said: “The conscious destruction of a monument because of its symbolism is also an option. This is the utmost in the spectrum of conservation – from preserving something just as it is forever to destroying it.”
How we use our voices
The Met and The Whitney declined to comment on their security protocols, but they and many other museums in New York posted on their social media pages condemn the death of George Floyd in solidarity with the protesters.
The Guggenheim Museum promotes the work of African-American artists who addressed racial discrimination in their works.
Likewise, the city’s public design committee posted on Twitter to promote black artists.
MoMa published what they call an incomplete list of resources and organizations to fight racism and support justice and equality.
“I think museums want to go up at this time and communicate,” Lamunaka told CNN.
Lamonaka says the coordinators’ question now is “How do we use our voices and our position in society to bring people together and have a meaningful conversation with difficult topics.”