Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Security Guards

Sarah Hromack of Forward Retreat has a post about museum security - itself a response to Tyler Green's investigation of a damaged Truitt. They both talk about security guards and how much responsibility for damage should be placed on them.

Here in Richmond at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and I assume most other museums, guards (and janitors) are outsourced, and are not museum employees. They take a two-day class, make $7.35 an hour, get no benefits, and often work one or two other jobs. It's another case of the richest hiring the poorest and paying the least - you get what you pay for.

Damage to artwork is a shame, but the exploited poor bear no responsibility whatsoever.


Anonymous said...

Martin, Sarah here. I agree with you entirely. In my post, I aimed to imply that museum guards should em not be held solely responsible for damage to work. I'm well aware of how much security guards make--my curatorial assistant's salary isn't too far off, believe it or not--and also realize that their training is often lack-luster.

Martin said...

Oh, I definitely believe you are underpaid, and I have a problem with that too. It seems a lot of museums and galleries entry level workers are expected to work as unpaid interns or for very little money - an option usually open only to those that have some sort of money to fall back on, especially in super-expensive NYC. Accepting an underpaid internship job isn't an option for most, and yet another example of how the rich are serving the rich.

Don't know your circumstances, I know there are struggling exceptions.

Anonymous said...

Uh, I'm not an intern and don't have a trust fund, but at the heart of the matter, I think we're in agreement.

Anonymous said...

Trustafarians begeting trustafarians.