Over 14 years ago, when Yahoo! was under a year old and Google was still two years away from "logging on," Ton Cremers had a vision to expand the local Dutch cultural property protection and preservation discussions to the global village. With the assistance of some new technologies, this vision became the Museum Security Network. As Dante said in the Inferno, "From small spark great flame hath risen." For those who are unaware of its size and scope, the MSN now receives over13,500 visitors a month.The network is dedicated to the collection and dissemination of information about incidents with cultural property in museums, libraries, archives, monuments, and churches, ranging from daytime theft, forgery, fires, burglaries, robberies, but also provenance matters, illicit acquisitions, illicit trade, Unesco 1970, Unidroit 1995. It has always been, and will remain, a free service.
I am sure we are all extremely grateful for Ton's hard work and leadership in the field of art crime for so many years. Ton has decided to pass on the day to day running of the group to Mark Durney who is doing a year-long Masters in Cultural Heritage Studies at University College London's Institute of Archaeology. For the past two years, he has maintained Art Theft Central - a blog that discusses recent news about art crime as well as contributes insights into the trends in the field from a variety of perspectives. Additionally, he serve as Business and Admissions Director for ARCA -the Association for Research into Crimes against Art. There are now several contributing editors, for America Jonathan Sazonoff; African editor: Traude Rogers; European editor: Ton Cremers and Ellie Bruggeman.
The MSN will continue to operate as a forum to update and engage those interested in the heritage and culture sectors. There is also the Museum Security Network blog at: http://www.museum-security.org/.
I am sure we all wish Ton Cremers and Mark Durney and all those now involved in MSN all the best in their respective new endeavours.