Boston Museum Enlists Puppy To Sniff Out Pests In Art Collections

Riley the Weimaraner will take a scent training course and then work to protect the museum's existing and future art collections from pests.

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Riley is going to undergo scent training and will be deployed at the museum on a part-time basis. Via Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Facebook
John Virata

In an effort to help safeguard costly and sometimes priceless artworks, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, will enlist the assistance of a Weimaraner puppy to help sniff out unwanted and potentially damaging bugs and other pests.

The puppy, named Riley, will spend the next several months scent training with his owner and then will be put to work on a volunteer basis at the museum.
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Posted by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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“We have lots of things that bring, by their very nature, bugs or pests with them,” Katie Getchell, chief brand officer and deputy director of the Museum of Fine Arts, told The Boston Globe. “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.”
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Posted by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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While the museum already has practices in place to help mitigate the introduction of any critters into its collection, Riley will add another set of eyes… or nose in this case, to help bolster the protocols already in place.

“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 any infestation like that could use as another line of defense,” Getchell said. “That would be an amazing outcome.”
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Riley was introduced to the media Jan. 11, 2018. He is already popular on the museum’s Facebook page, with some folks wishing he will have a more public presence, though Getchell said he will work mostly behind the scenes.
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Good luck, Riley, on your training. Root out those pesky bugs!

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