Several times, when interviewed about our vaults, "who uses them, what are they protecting," I will ask about "who my biggest competitor is?"
I always reply "Nothing!" Then they reply, "You mean you have no competition?" I reply that the reason we lose sales is that 80% of the time, the Board or the Government official will decide that it is simply not worth it to protect the documents or artifacts. That number trends upwards in a downturn in the economy.
My favorite was a Fortune 500 exec asking if they had a budget line item for loss due to fire. The answer was "No not specifically." So since they did not budget for a fire then it made sense not to expend dollars for a fire vault.
So it is not hard to see why these documents could walk out by the thousands and no one ever suspect they were gone. Since 80% of the collection sits in a back room or warehouse, no one oversees the bulk of the collection. Anyone with a right to perform research is a suspect. In fact, most curators will tell you this is their biggest loss privately. In fact, many, many researchers take things home intending to return them but once they have it at home, it somehow never makes it back. The highest security you will see in many museums is a file cabinet with a $4.00 lock.
Landau should testify about the absolute ease in which researchers can walk out the door with valuable documents.
FIRELOCK Fireproof Modular Vaults
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