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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Meet the Adorable Puppy That’s Helping the MFA Boston Protect and Preserve Its Collection

 File this one under “news of the adorable”: The latest staff member at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is Riley, a 12-week-old Weimaraner puppy. The institution hopes his impressive olfactory skills can be harnessed to detect insects and bugs, to prevent infestations that might threaten the preservation of museum objects.
Riley belongs to the museum’s head of Protective Services and will work with the MFA on a volunteer basis, reports the Boston Globe. As part of a new pilot program, he’ll be trained to inspect museum objects, sitting down in front of them if he smells moths or other bugs, which can cause damage, especially to textile, wood, or other organic materials.
“Pests are an ongoing concern for museums,” Katie Getchell, chief brand officer and
deputy director of the Museum of Fine Arts, told the Globe. “If it is something that works, it’s something that other museums, or other libraries, or other places that collect materials that are susceptible to any kind of infestation like that could use as another line of defense.”
As far as the MFA knows, it is the only institution to add the art-world equivalent of a bomb-sniffing dog to its protocols for keeping bugs in check.
As a Weimaraner, Riley is a good choice for the MFA. The American Kennel Club cites the breed’s “ability to work with great speed and endurance in the field,” while Weimaraner Rescue of the South notes that they are “very hardy, with a good sense of smell, and a passionate worker.”
Sadly, for museum-going art lovers, floppy-eared Riley, as cute as he is, will be working almost entirely behind the scenes, leaving little opportunity for interaction with visitors.
See more photos of Riley at work below.

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