Housed in a 55,000-square-foot downtown facility, the Sioux City Public Museum chose a high-definition video surveillance system from Avigilon to achieve its goal of keeping staff, visitors and its $2 million assets safe. Photo courtesy of Avigilon.

Opened in the 1850s with a focus on natural science, the Sioux City (Iowa) Public Museum’s emphasis has evolved to a broader focus on preserving the area’s heritage through a variety of educational programs, events and historical exhibitions valued at more than $2 million.

With its broadened focus, the museum outgrew its former location, a prominent Victorian mansion, and moved to a new downtown site in April 2011. The modern, open-concept building has become known as one of the area’s premier cultural destinations, and welcomes more than 5,000 visitors each month – making public safety and asset protection top priorities. To address these priorities, the museum chose a high-definition surveillance system from Avigilon, which has played a key role in helping the museum achieve its security and safety goals.

Located in the heart of downtown, the Sioux City Public Museum is a 55,000-square-foot facility with an outdoor plaza, rear loading dock and skyway connected to public parking. “Because of the size of the building, as well as its location in an area known for attracting a transient crowd, we wanted an advanced, high-definition surveillance system to monitor people coming and going from our facility around the clock,” said Steven Hansen, the museum’s director. “We use the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system to deter criminal behavior and to safeguard our valuable artifacts.”

Based on research and a strong recommendation from the Sioux City’s facilities manager, Hansen chose to work with local firm Electric Innovations to install the Avigilon system to monitor the entrances, permanent exhibition area, temporary exhibition area and loading dock. “We needed an advanced, high-definition surveillance system that would provide broad coverage, overcome architectural challenges in our open-concept building and remain unobtrusive,” Hansen explained. “Providing excellent local support, Electric Innovations has installed the best quality surveillance solution possible to deliver optimal system performance.”

Administrators and exhibition staff at the museum manage the video system using the Avigilon Control Center network video management software monitoring the system live throughout the day from their computers. A permanent monitor has been set up in the main reception area to monitor visitors as they enter and exit the permanent exhibit space. The museum installed 15 Avigilon 1 MP and 2 MP cameras in the main exhibit areas, hallways, key entry points and at the loading dock, and store 29 days of continuous surveillance footage on an Avigilon NVR. 

Without a permanent security staff, the museum’s administrators are responsible for the facility’s security in addition to all other operational responsibilities, so ease-of-use was a key requirement for the new system.

The Avigilon system monitors a variety of locations at the Sioux City Public Museum, including entrances, exhibition areas and the rear loading dock. Photo courtesy of Avigilon

“The Avigilon high-definition surveillance system is very simple to use, providing each of us with a variety of camera views right from our desktop, making it much easier and less time-consuming to monitor throughout the day,” said Deanna Mayo, administrative assistant at the Sioux City Public Museum. “Because each user can select relevant camera views from their own desktop, we can ensure broader coverage of the museum at all times.

“While our needs are pretty basic, we can quickly and easily identify people and events because of Avigilon’s simple and intuitive user interface,” she added.

Avigilon Control Center provides full control over surveillance video playback, making it easy for users to quickly retrieve evidence and speed up response times. “Avigilon Control Center software is 1,000 percent more effective than our previous analog-based system,” Hansen said. 

Hansen and Mayo have also been very impressed with Avigilon’s image quality, which makes it much easier to identify events with greater accuracy than before. “I recently spoke with the captain of the police force, who is very pleased that we have invested in the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system,” Hansen noted. “We are located in an area that has caused concern for the police, and we have noticed a marked reduction in trespassing since deploying the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system.” 

The Avigilon system has played a critical role in helping the museum achieve its goals of ensuring public safety and protecting its $2 million worth of assets. “I am confident that the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system will deliver a lower total cost of ownership than other solutions because it offers greater image quality and reliability, requires less maintenance, and will free up our time for other important tasks,” Hansen explained.

By installing such an advanced surveillance system, the museum will also be able to reduce its insurance costs and can more effectively protect itself against the threat of false liability claims. “Most traveling exhibits stipulate strict security guidelines before they can be displayed in a new location,” Mayo commented. “With the Avigilon system in place, we are in a much better position to host new exhibits and share the latest collections to attract new audiences.” 

With the knowledge that activity is being accurately captured around the clock by the Avigilon surveillance system, Sioux City Public Museum administrators and patrons alike can enjoy a greater sense of security as they experience the region’s past at this leading cultural institution. “Avigilon has delivered the quality, reliability, and ease-of-use we need to help us deliver a safe, enjoyable, and educational experience,” Hansen said. “We have invested in the best quality and most reliable products in the industry.”