Stir-Crazy Penguins Visit Closed Art Museum During Lockdowns And That Makes Sense

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
YouTube/Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Penguins visiting museums is exactly what we need right now

We’re all going a little stir crazy these days — even the penguins. What exactly does one do when these aquatic flightless birds get antsy? Well, you take them to an art museum, of course.

A group of penguins in Kansas City, Missouri, went on a little field trip of sorts to their local art museum for a change of scenery since they don’t have a bunch of pointing kids to stare at since the pandemic closed their zoo’s doors. “Quarantine has caused everyone to go a little stir-crazy, even the residents of the Kansas City Zoo,” the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art said in a Facebook post last week. “So several of the penguins decided to go on a field trip to the Nelson-Atkins, which is still closed, to get a little culture.”

The museum’s director, Julián Zugazagoitia, opened by saying he was happy to host members of the zoo to his museum, especially the penguins, and was interested in seeing how they reacted to the art. The penguins seemed confused at first, looking at one another like, “Brah, the hell are we doing here?” but then settled into their new surroundings quite quickly, meandering around the hallways from one piece of art to the next.

The Humboldt penguins genuinely seem interested in their new surroundings, and the zoo’s executive director Randy Wisthoff said they’re always looking for ways to “enrich their lives and stimulate their days during this shutdown period,” and what better way to do so than visiting a local museum?

YouTube/Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The birds “seemed definitely to react much better to Caravaggio than to Monet,” Zugazagoitia noted during the video, joking that he spoke Spanish to the penguins, who are native to Chile and Peru. He also said he believed the penguins appeared to “appreciate art history.” Listen, I don’t know if that’s true or not but watching a video of penguins tottering around a museum looking up at famous artwork has been the highlight of my day.

The museum and zoo have both been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and are missing having patrons come through their doors. Wisthoff said in the video that the penguins have really missed “visitors coming up to see them” during the shutdown, too.

According to Wisthoff, the penguins “absolutely loved” their museum visit, and I think I speak for everyone when I say this should become a regular occurrence even after this pandemic is over because penguins visiting museums is the kind of news we need every day.

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