Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Seguridad y preservación /Security and Preservation

One aspect of preservation we addressed in school was that of security of the collections. In library collections, this generally meant protecting circulating books from defacement and robbery. Obviously, in special collections and rare book/manuscript collections this meant guarding collections against theft and black market traders. In a museum context, this obviously means protecting collections against art theft.

And more specifically, in the context of this city/country/location this means protection against protests,riots and revolutions. Though La Paz has been very peaceful since 2005, the museum is located in a politically important location. The Plaza Murillo is the home to major government houses, and has seen many coupes d´etat (and some fairly grizzly stuff too, but you can look that up if you are interested). Because of the political symbolism of some of the collection, I feel that there is a real possibility that this museum might attract political looters. The museum staff was actually trapped inside of the building during the government protests of 2005. (again, do the research if you are interested -this is a blog about archiving and libraries-not politics). Interestingly though, because of the museum´s proximity to the government buildings, there is actually more security than normal in this area of the city. In addition to Paceño police, there are military guards nearby as well. On an institutional level, there is a police staff (no such thing as private security companies in a government institution) on guard at the museum plus a number of security measures similar to those in major museums in New York.

Hipster ghost hangout
There is no security, however, for the 3 ghosts (fantasmas!) who are said to haunt the museum, which was once a Colonial home to a Spanish aristocrat. I have not seen said ghosts yet, but here is a photo of the corner they are often spotted in!

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