Keeping American art out of harm’s way

The Butler Institute utilizes Axis network cameras paired with Acuity-vct’s Object Protection Software to protect its vast collections of historical displays

“The Axis products paired with the Acuity-vct system have dramatically improved the safety of the museum. The paintings in our collection are priceless as we can’t go back and get new ones. World-renowned artists like Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent are gone, however their legacy lives on in these masterpieces. It is our responsibility to protect these works for prosperity.” Dr. Louis Zona, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Butler Institute.


Distinctly noted as the first museum in the country specifically designed and constructed to house American art, the Butler Institute of American Art operates as a pro bono facility situated in northeast Ohio. Housing both permanent and temporary collections throughout its galleries, the Butler Institute faces general damage and theft concerns of its works at all times. After an incident occurred in which a parent removed a painting from the wall in order to show their child, the museum decided to seek out an advanced security system to identify incidents before they escalated.


The Butler Institute installed over 200 cameras to perform two separate and important functions. Axis network cameras give general overviews of the space while additional cameras provide direct overhead views of all artwork within the museum’s collection. These cameras make use of the Acuity-vct Object Protection Software to place invisible protection zones around each collection piece. When the pixels in a protection zone are breached, the guest receives an audible alarm and the museum security staff is immediately notified.


The Butler Institute has achieved major success in avoiding damage and theft issues after the deployment of the system. The cameras and software together proactively alert visitors of their close proximity to a piece, making them less likely to touch a piece a second time. The system also helps the guards to be more efficient by allowing them to concentrate on real threats instead of viewing gallery cameras with no activity. The forensic detail along with the video provided by the object protection cameras can provide law enforcement the necessary evidence if theft or damage were to occur.

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