Art Behind the Scenes Museum Buildings

A Night at the Museum

Join Alberto Rios, security officer, as he documents and photographs his night patrol of the Museum.

Alberto Rios is not only one of the Museum’s wonderful third-shift security officers; he is also a talented photographer. You may have seen some of his photos featured on the Museum’s social media pages. He captured this gorgeous sunrise on the East End and an image of Schroeder Galleria lit up for Pride Month, among other views of the Museum. Because he has such a great eye, and he has the unique opportunity to capture the Museum at a time when most are asleep, I asked if he would create a photo diary, taking viewers through one of his shifts. Get a behind-the-scenes—and somewhat eerie—look at the Museum (after dark!) below.
—Erin Aeschbacher, associate content writer

Man showing temperature reading of 96 degrees

Hi! I’m Alberto Rios, and this is my photo diary.

Here are a few of the areas in the Museum I visit on my nightly patrols. Temp check. Mask on. Here we go—enjoy!

First, I stop by the group tour entrance. It’s usually pretty quiet at night, but sometimes I notice skateboarders doing tricks outside and have to politely ask them to move on.

View going down stairs with metal railings

Into the heart of the Museum I go…

Here is the art prep area. Lots of art comes through this hallway before reaching the galleries.

Check out this glow on the lower level stairs that lead up to the level one galleries. At night, the Museum has a totally different feel to it.

Now, I make my way through the 20th-century design galleries.

And over to the Museum’s East End. Here is a view from the southern part of the East End, looking toward one of the entrances.

On our tour of the East End, the other third-shift security officers and I check all entrances and emergency exits.

Here is a quick snapshot of the East End admissions desk and café.

Robert Indiana’s The American LOVE sculpture lights up the room at night.

Now, back to the galleries! During the day, this part of the Museum is active (and kind of chatty, due to Tony Oursler’s MMPI (Self-Portrait in Yellow)). At night, though, it’s quiet…too quiet.

Many of the galleries that seem open and spacious during the day become dark tunnels at night.

And many paintings appear as dark shadows on the walls. It can be a bit creepy, to tell you the truth.

Even after working here for more than two years, I still look twice when I pass the Janitor—especially at night. Did his keys just jingle? I’m out of here!

I take a quick peek down the hallway with the Mexican jewelry and Haitian art displays before moving on.

Looking down Baumgartner Galleria, from Windhover Hall, I can spot Tom Wesselmann’s Still Life #51 at the entrance to the collection galleries.

I capture a city reflection through the Schroeder Galleria windows. I love when it rains during my shift. You can hear every raindrop crashing onto the rooftop. It is very calming.

Outside, I can see the moon peeking through the Museum’s Burke Brise Soleil (“wings”).

Sunrise peeking through the windows of Windhover Hall

The best part about third shift? It always ends with a beautiful view of the sunrise. Thanks for coming along with me!

Alberto Rios is a Museum Security Officer. When he is not patrolling the Museum’s campus and protecting the art in the collection, he is working on illustrations, paintings, or as of late, 3D modeling on his computer.

7 replies on “A Night at the Museum”

Some really wonderful images of the museum at times when only a select few get to experience it. I am drawn into the dark shadows and the strong contrast of the bright whites. Great to see how you captured the shapes and forms of the space you survey each night. I’d love to see the inner workings, the downstairs, and storage spaces of the museum. Thank you for sharing these.

This was amazing! As a kid it was always my fantasy to stay overnight in the museum, like in the book “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”. Your night tour of MAM is probably as close as I’ll ever get. Thank you!

This was sooooo interesting. Who knew anything about the museum at night? Fascinating , I miss my volunteer job at the MAM.

Wow you have quite an eye and also a terrific way of making the tour fun and surprising. Thank you!

Also a fan of “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” and was dreaming of the same thing as I enjoyed Alberto’s beautiful photographic tour. A delightfully creative idea to help all of us museum lovers get through these crazy times. Thank you, thank you talented Alberto!

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