Closed because of the coronavirus lockdown, the Nelson-Atkins museum in Kansas City, Missouri, is currently out of bounds for human visitors.
However, a group of three Peruvian penguins from a nearby zoo got a chance to waddle around the museum’s empty interiors.
The shuttered art museum welcomed the three two-foot-high visitors from Kansas City Zoo, giving them an exclusive viewing of its artefacts.
The museum shared a video on Twitter and tweeted: “We’ve had some dapper guests visit the museum before but these little tuxedoed visitors are our favourites.”
The @KansasCityZoo treated the penguins to a little culture before the zoo re-opens.
CEO Julián Zugazagoitia welcomed the “special friends” from the zoo, who waddled around quietly in a two-foot-tall phalanx to peruse the works on display, stopping here and there.
The Nelson-Atkins boasts an internationally renowned collection of art from across the world, with more than 34,000 objects including African art and sculpture spanning two millennia, a vast Asian collection, and paintings by European masters from El Greco to Reubens to Van Gogh.
While wild penguins are not known for their taste in high culture — though in fairness, their craggy and sometimes freezing marine habitats are seldom blessed with vibrant art scenes — they do have a clear intelligence about them, regularly performing feats of memory and navigation as well as selective listening and rapid information processing.
According to the zoo’s CEO, Randy Wisthoff, a trip to the museum, it seems, was just the thing to lift their spirits and open their minds.