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Battening down.

When Hurricane Hugo hit the North Carolina coast in September 1989, Cynthia Gandee, director at the Henry B. Plant Museum in Tampa, Florida, began thinking about ways to protect the institution's priceless artifacts during similar disturbances. The Plant Museum, located near both Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River, is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes because it has sixty-eight ten-foot high windows.

The museum, originally the Tampa Bay Hotel, was built by Henry B. Plant as part of his Plant System of express companies, railroads, steamships, and hotels. The 500-room resort hotel was open from 1891 to 1930. Registered as a national historic landmark, the building reopened in 1933 as home to the Henry B. Plant Museum and the administrative offices and classrooms of the University of Tampa.

Ninety percent of the furnishings and works of art are original to the hotel where notable personalities of that age, such as Anna Pavlova, Sarah Bernhardt, and Theodore Roosevelt, were among the guests. "It's a showcase of European furnishings," says Gandee.

After Hurricane Andrew devastated southern Florida in June 1992, a St. Petersburg Times reporter interviewed Gandee for an article on disaster planning in Florida's museum community, and she talked about the dilemma of blending security and safety with preserving art. Joseph J. O'Brien, CEO of Metallized Products, which manufactures Sun-Gard brand window film, happened to read the article and offered to help the museum by donating Sun-Gard safety film and paying for its installation in the museum.

Gandee notes that the application of the safety film was only the museum's first step in disaster planning. "Until a complete plan is available, the film will aid against theft and damage due to high wind. It's also excellent for filtering out UV rays, which damage textiles and woods." The donated Sun-Gard product is a specially constructed film called Museum Safety Film, which contains extra UV screeners that block out 99 percent of UV rays.

The safety film, which was installed more than a year ago, makes regular glass shatter-resistant and increases the overall security of any glass panel or window by holding glass in place upon impact of flying objects or high winds. The Sun-Gard film used is clear and 4 mils thick. According to Mark Bollegar, marketing manager for Sun-Gard professional films, it is the only safety film in the industry to date that stands up to the 400 foot per pound test for durability and adhesive strength.

"The film does nothing to detract from the beauty of the original panes," explains Gandee, "and you cannot tell that the film is on the window. It's not the ultimate precaution, but it's a start for us and a wonderful plan for just day-to-day security.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Security Works; protection of museum artifacts from natural calamities
Author:Addis, Karen; Arbetter, Lisa; Murphy, Joan; Wilson, Caroline
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Previous Article:For your eyes only.
Next Article:Floored by security.

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