Last month, the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles were evacuated due to bomb threats (that were later downplayed as “no real threats”), and pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France were banned as “likely to generate disturbances to the public order.” In a post at that time on “X” (the late, lamented Twitter), I wondered if NYC museums might be experiencing similar jitters in this politically fraught environment.
Given its recent job posting for an Incident Response Manager (“posted 14 days ago” and still online at this writing), it looks like the Metropolitan Museum is indeed feeling vulnerable. The long list of the Response Manager’s Primary Responsibilities and Duties includes:
- Engage with suspicious persons
- Use appropriate escalation of force level up to and including armed response as dictated by the situation and protocol
- Carry a firearm for de-escalation and defensive purposes
- Identify, monitor, record details of suspicious behaviors and patterns by unknown individuals, to include unusual or prolonged interest in the Security Departments Frontline Security Force deployments; probing questions of Security personnel about capabilities; penetration tests of security systems or screening procedures; observing security patterns or procedures; and suspicious vehicles entering, leaving, or parking in the Museum garages.
The long list of Requirements and Qualifications includes:
- High school Degree
- NYC Pistol Permit
- NY Armed Guard License
- Must have at least 15-years of prior law enforcement experience
- Prior Investigative Experience
- Experience in the security loss prevention
- Valid full carry permit and Valid Armed Guard License
- Proficient in the use of Firearms
- Attend quarterly firearms and tactical training
But fear not: The successful candidate will obtain “long-term disability coverage,” not to mention a “25% discount for staff in Museum shops” and a “subsidized staff cafeteria.”
Perhaps you’d prefer another position for which the Met is seeking applicants—a “visionary curator of contemporary art” who can “work closely with colleagues across the department and Museum, including the architect (my link, not theirs), on all aspects of the Tang Wing” (my link, not theirs). Also being sought, according to the Met’s online listings, is a Curator of Islamic Art.
But back to the gun-toting Incident Response Manager: I hope that this fire power (like the dogs who have sometimes sniffed my suspicious-looking 2010 Subaru at the entrance to the museum garage) turns out to be an over-abundance of caution. The museums we know and love should be places for peaceful contemplation, not contentious confrontation.
But if not, bring on the cavalry!
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