Security Levels

Everything you need to know about securing artworks in ExhibitsUSA exhibitions

To ensure a successful hosting experience and the safety of the artwork, ExhibitsUSA outlines venue requirements for each exhibition through the six levels of security listed below. Hosting venues must submit a facility report for the appropriate security level: Limited, Moderate A, Moderate B and Moderate C, Moderate D, and High.

For more information, contact Registrar Michelle Wolfe at (800) 473-EUSA (3872) x217 or Michelle@maaa.org.

Limited

  • For exhibitions with few environmental or security restrictions
  • No food or drink in gallery or around artworks at any time
  • Fire protection according to local ordinance
  • Limited-access gallery or display area; hallways, lobbies, other trafficways not acceptable
  • Exhibition locked after hours
  • No temperature extremes (65 – 75 degrees)
  • No humidity extremes (45 – 65%)
  • No sunlight; light sources must have UV filters, and windows will be blocked by shades or blinds at all times
  • Responsible supervision of artwork at all times
  • Careful handling

Moderate A

Furniture and Installation Technique Emphasis: For exhibitions which do not require distinct environmental control, but which have multiple display modes (floor, wall, pedestal, ceiling), and require display furniture and trained installation staff. These exhibitions are inherently vulnerable, due to artistic media.

  • No food or drink in gallery or around artworks at any time
  • Fire protection according to local ordinance
  • Minimum 3 professional staff or receiving shipping, installation, de-installation, outgoing shipping
  • Limited-access gallery
  • Exhibition locked after hours; alarms or night guards may also be required
  • Total temperature control (gallery temperature maintained at constant 68-72 degrees)
  • No relative humidity extremes (+/- 10% fluctuation in a 24-hour period)
  • No sunlight; light sources (including windows with shades/blinds) must have ultraviolet filters
  • Staff trained specifically for secure supervision of the exhibition must remain in the display area at all times while open to the public
  • Exhibitor must have or be able to produce display furniture including:
    • Secured cases or secured vitrines on pedestals for small objects
    • Objects on the floor or on very large pedestals must have ropes or other barriers to keep public at least 40 inches from the exhibition at all times

Moderate B

Environment Emphasis, Simple Installation: For exhibitions that primarily require control of environmental factors: works on paper, original photography, and framed painting exhibitions.

  • No food or drink in gallery or around artworks at any time
  • Fire protection according to local ordinance
  • Temperature and humidity-controlled crate storage
  • Limited-access gallery or display area; hallways, lobbies, other trafficways not acceptable
  • Exhibition locked after hours
  • Total temperature control (gallery temperature maintained at constant 68-72 degrees)
  • Relative humidity of 45 – 55% at all times; no greater than 10% fluctuation over a 24-hour period
  • No sunlight; light sources (including windows with shades/blinds) must have ultraviolet filters
  • Display area light levels not to exceed 5–7 foot candles
  • Responsible supervision of artwork at all times
  • Handling by volunteers is acceptable only in the presence of trained personnel

Moderate C

Environment and Installation Technique Emphasis: For exhibitions that require control of environmental factors and which are fragile, cumbersome, or technically difficult, requiring trained museum staff for handling and display supervision.

  • No food or drink in gallery or around artworks at any time
  • Fire protection according to local ordinance
  • Temperature and humidity-controlled crate storage
  • Minimum 3 professional staff for receiving shipping, installation, de-installation, outgoing shipping
  • Limited-access gallery
  • Exhibition locked after hours; alarms or night guards may also be required
  • Total temperature control (gallery temperature maintained at constant 68–72 degrees)
  • Relative humidity of 45–55% at all times; no greater than 10% fluctuation over a 24-hour period
  • No sunlight; light sources (including windows with shades/blinds) must have ultraviolet filters
  • Display area light levels not to exceed 5–7 foot candles for textiles, watercolors, and other works on paper; 20 foot candles for paintings on canvas. Gallery light level determined by most sensitive object in a multi-media exhibition
  • Responsible supervision by guards or trained personnel whose sole duty is supervision of exhibition at all times while open to the public
  • Objects on the floor or on very large pedestals must have ropes or other barriers to keep public at least 40 inches from the exhibition at all times

Moderate D

Environment, Furniture, and Installation Technique: For exhibitions whose objects require consistent attention to environmental factors, trained museum staff for handling and display supervision, and display furniture.

  • No food or drink in gallery or around artworks at any time
  • Fire protection according to local ordinance
  • Temperature and humidity-controlled crate storage
  • Minimum 3 professional staff for receiving shipping, installation, de-installation, outgoing shipping
  • Limited-access gallery
  • Exhibition locked after hours; alarms or night guards may also be required
  • Total temperature control (gallery temperature maintained at constant 68–72 degrees)
  • Relative humidity of 45–55% at all times; no greater than 10% fluctuation in a 24-hour period
  • No sunlight; light sources (including blocked windows) must have ultraviolet filters
  • Display area light levels not to exceed 5-foot candles for textiles, watercolors and other works on paper, 20-foot candles for paintings on canvas. Gallery light level determined by most sensitive object in a multi-media exhibition
  • Staff trained specifically for secure supervision of the exhibition remain in the display area at all times while exhibition is open to the public
  • Exhibitor must have or be able to produce display furniture including:
    • Secured cases or secured vitrines on pedestals for small objects
    • Objects on the floor or on very large pedestals must have ropes or other barriers to keep public at least 40 inches from the exhibition at all times

High

This level is reserved for exhibitions with extremely high aggregate insurance values, extreme fragility, great historical value, any combination of these, and/or other undeniable reasons for its assignment.

  • No food or drink in gallery or around artworks at any time
  • Fire protection according to local ordinance
  • Temperature and humidity-controlled crate storage
  • Loading area capable of receiving tractor-trailers up to 80 feet in length and high-cube trailers (trailers with inside height of 117–124 inches)
  • Minimum 3 professional staff for receiving shipping, installation, de-installation, outgoing shipping
  • Limited-access gallery
  • Exhibition locked after hours; alarms or night guards must be in place
  • Organizations must have HVAC or equivalent environmental control and monitoring systems in place:
    • Total temperature control (gallery temperature maintained at constant 68-72 degrees)
    • Relative humidity constant at 50%, +/- 3% (no greater than 6% fluctuation in a 24 hour period)
    • No sunlight; artificial light sources have UV filters and are not aimed directly at objects
  • Light level restrictions determined according to exhibition
  • Trained, professional guards in sufficient number to adequately protect exhibition
  • Exhibitor must have or be able to produce display furniture including:
    • Secured cases or secured vitrines on pedestals for small objects
    • Objects on the floor or on very large pedestals must have ropes or other barriers to keep public at least 40 inches from the exhibition at all times
  • Other restrictions as required which may include, but are not limited to:
    • Enclosed sculpture garden and/or patrolling guards for outdoor work
    • Provisions for monitoring outdoor work after hours
    • Additional staff requirements for installing and monitoring artwork
    • Facility reports reviewed by lending institutions