Securing Historic Buildings
 

“Protecting Historic Buildings” by Steve Keller was first published in “Security Management”. Keller is a principal of Architect’s Security Group. The Architect’s Security Group team has been involved in projects at the Hearst Castle, Mount Vernon, Montpelier, home James Madison, The Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, Ca d’ Zan, home the John Ringling, Villa I Tatti in Florence, and dozens of other important historic buildings, ships and sites. Click the icon to download a PDF version of the article.

Our team enjoys work on major historic sites more than any other type of project. These projects give us an opportunity to be creative and to play a role in the preservation of these sites. In the past, we have actually invented unique security products to overcome problems. Given a mandate to secure one major site “without drilling any holes or seeing any devices” we mounted microwave detectors in the basement shooting up through the floor boards into the historic rooms. Given the mandate to mount video cameras in dark slave quarters (drill no holes, see no equipment) we worked with the lighting designer to mount bright lights on pylons and aim them into the eyes of the visitors (who had just come in from outside) in order to create an illusion of a dark and dingy hovel.  By mounting the cameras directly under the bright light on a free standing pylon it was impossible to see the camera, every visitor was recorded, and the mandate was met. In another home we were told that they wanted motion detection but detectors could not be visible.  We mounted the detectors inside compartments that hold the indoor shutters. Since shutters are closed each night, the detectors will only be visible when they are needed and when no member of the public will ever see them. To be sure guards closed the shutters at night exposing the detectors, we mounted microswitches on the shutter doors and the alarm system would not set up until all shutters were closed. And in more than one building we ran outdoor cabling UNDER the building foundation to avoid drilling through it.


We understand preservation and have a sound understanding of period building methods. If we can help with your historic site project, let us know.


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