March 26, 2010

Museum Security Network: New Management

Ton Cremers, the founder and moderator of the Museum Security Network, has decided to pass the ownership and responsibilities of the MSN onto me, Mark Durney. Before I introduce myself, I have a few words on Ton's advances and innovations in the field of art crime for which we are eternally grateful.

Over 14 years ago, when Yahoo! was under a year old and Google was still two years away from "logging on," Ton Cremers had a vision to expand the local Dutch cultural property protection and preservation discussions to the global village. With the assistance of some new technologies, this vision became the Museum Security Network. As Dante said in the Inferno, "From small spark great flame hath risen." For those who are unaware of its size and scope, the MSN now receives over 13,500 visitors a month. Rest assured that I do not plan on diverging from Ton's vision rather I hope to contribute to it and build on the solid foundation and reputation he has already established.

Currently, I am pursuing a year-long Masters in Cultural Heritage Studies at the University College London's Institute of Archaeology. For the past two years, I have maintained Art Theft Central - a blog that discusses recent news about art crime as well as contributes insights into the trends in the field from a variety of perspectives. Additionally, I serve as Business and Admissions Director for ARCA - the Association for Research into Crimes against Art. As an undergraduate at Trinity College (Hartford, CT), I majored  in History and completed a thesis on deconstructing the Thomas Crown Affair art heist scenario. I have had experiences from a financial strategy consulting firm with 90,000 employees worldwide to a local community bank to most recently, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where I worked as a security guard/gallery officer.

My work in the realm of art crime, like Ton's, has been largely voluntary. Hopefully, this conveys my passion to pursue the protection and preservation of our shared cultural heritage through theoretical, experiential, and practical approaches.

The MSN will continue to operate as a forum to update and engage those interested in the heritage and culture sectors. In the upcoming months, there will be a transition period as well as some transformations during which I hope to expand the MSN's volunteer base among other projects. I have invited Jonathan Sazanoff to continue assisting with the MSN's daily operations. I ask that the followers of the MSN exhibit the same confidence that Ton has placed in me so that together we can continue his mission.

Thanks for your support. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments you can reach me at .

Mark Durney, March 2010