Riley. Photo: Still from a video produced by Emily Zendt for the Boston Globe.

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts Adds New Staffer, a Puppy to Protect Its Collection

Riley, a Weimaraner puppy, has joined the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’s staff. Steve Annear of the Boston Globe writes that he will be trained to detect insects and other pests that might harm its collection. The museum is considering the initiative a pilot program, but depending on its success, it hopes that other institutions might also benefit from the services of a canine on their team.

“If he can be trained to sit down in front of an object that he smells a bug in, that we can’t smell or see, then we could take that object, inspect it, and figure out what’s going on—that would be remarkable in terms of preserving objects,” Katie Getchell, the museum’s chief brand officer and deputy director, said. “Pests are an ongoing concern for museums,” she added. “It’s exciting to think about this as a new way to address the problem.”

The pup’s training will be overseen by his owner, the museum’s head of protective services. While visitors might be excited to catch a glimpse of Riley at work, they may be disappointed, since he will mostly be behind the scenes.