Upcoming Event

Tuesday, August 18, 2020


6:00 - 7:00 PM EDT


Behind the Scenes of Art Museum Security and Theft


John Barelli, Ph.D., Former Chief Security Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Author of: Stealing the Show: A History of Art and Crime in Six Thefts (2019)

Host / Moderator:
Sharon Flescher, Ph.D.
Executive Director, International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR)

Program Location:

This is a "virtual" IFAR Evening Zoom webinar. In this era of Covid-19, we have temporarily suspended in-person programming.

For close to 40 years – 30 as Chief Security Officer – John Barelli was responsible for the security of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest and most encyclopedic art museum in the United States. During this time, there were only a few thefts, each one of which revealed a weakness in museum security and spurred new procedures or changes in installations. Security also involved protecting dignitaries, including the many heads of state, who visited the museum. Join us as Dr. Barelli shares some behind-the-scenes information involved in protecting the precious objects in the museum’s collection or lent to it for temporary exhibitions; the different types of security lapses – and thieves – he encountered; the changes in security and procedures over the years, including the increasing use of technology; and broader issues, such as, changing attitudes toward the publicizing of art thefts and the carrying of weapons by guards.  

Q&A and discussion will follow the talk.

This program is being organized as a Zoom webinar, and, after registration (via the "Reserve & Pay Online" button at the top of this page), must be accessed through a Zoom link, which will be sent to you by the next day.

NB: All registrants -- even IFAR Supporters/ Members -- must register via the "Reserve & Pay Online" button.

It is our intention to record this program and post it on our website in the future. Note: We would like to remind you that videos of many previous IFAR Evening programs are available on IFAR's website (indicated by the blue camera icon), including our July 16, 2020 virtual program on Raphael, Back from the Dead: Raphael After 500 Years.

IFAR wishes to thank AXA XL for its help towards support of this program and other virtual IFAR Evenings in 2020.