News & Insights

Nightmare at the museum

Published 31 August 2016

Back in June this year, the sightseers, museum and art enthusiasts of Paris were left wandering the boulevards as rising flood waters forced the renowned Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay into emergency shutdown. 

According to Louvre officials, around 350,000 pieces of artwork were relocated from storage and low-lying exhibition spaces to reduce the risk of water damage. The five-day closure ultimately resulted in a loss of €1.5 million in revenue. 

museum insuranceMeanwhile, in the northern city of Montargis, an off-site storage vault holding artworks belonging to the

Musée Girodet flooded to the ceiling. The rapid onset of the flood caused significant damage to several major artworks, including a 1650 painting by Spanish master Francisco Zurbarán.

Storage vaults, off-site facilities and safes are just a few of the areas that tend to be forgotten (or thought of at the last minute) when creating a museum disaster recovery plan. But as we’ve learned in France, remembering these oft-forgotten spaces and items – which are considered part of your contents by some insurers – is essential.

4 things to remember when you’re preparing a museum disaster recovery plan

Artworks aren’t the only priceless assets in a museum. If you’re thinking about insurance and preparing a museum disaster recovery plan, keep in mind that paintings and sculptures are not the only insurable items. Other things can be covered as contents too, such as:

  • Fixtures and fittings. Installations, exhibition pop-ups and anything installed by you for the purpose of showcasing art and collectibles counts as contents and can be insured.
  • Documents of title and any other documents of aesthetic, scientific or social value can be insured too. They’re not just paper – they’re history!
  • Data, archives, business books and other records. These form a record of your museum’s history and contribution to society, and they’re worth insuring.
  • Safes, strongrooms and shipping containers. Your storage and transport mechanisms are extremely valuable. If they’re lost or damaged, so are your artworks and collectibles.

While most insurers often incorporate limits for collectibles in museums, our policies allow for a broad definition of contents. Talk to your broker and find a policy that covers most (if not all) your valuable assets – your patrons will thank you when disaster strikes! 

 

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