Meet Riley the Museum Dog
In January 2018, a Weimaraner puppy named Riley joined the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as a volunteer. A working scent dog in training, he will provide assistance with pest detection behind the scenes at the Museum. Developed as a pilot program, Riley’s training will focus on supporting members of the Conservation, Protective Services, and Facilities departments as they care for the MFA’s collection, building, and grounds. Weimaraners are very intelligent and have an incredible sense of smell, making Riley’s duties as a scent dog well suited to his breed. The Museum has many procedures in place to identify and eliminate pests that might come and go with art objects, and Riley’s natural talents could add one more layer of protection in the future.
Riley’s first few weeks at the MFA included a press conference on January 10—where he was introduced to media and earned international attention—and his first all-staff meeting. He is currently undergoing basic puppy training and socialization while adjusting to his unique surroundings. Riley will begin to learn more specialized skills related to identifying pests that may be present in the Museum environment over the coming year. His progress will be documented for the museum community and beyond, both by Protective Services and Conservation staff, as well as on the MFA’s social media with the hashtag #RileyTheMuseumDog.
Born on October 14, 2017, Riley lives with the MFA’s head of Protective Services, Nicki Luongo, and comes to the Museum for his volunteer shift with her.