Night at the Museum: Break-in for the Purpose of Sightseeing?

The Australian Museum in Sydney, one of the most important natural history museums in the world. Photo: J Bar, CC BY-SA 3.0.
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Sydney, on the night of Sunday, May 10. A 25-year-old man gains entry into the Australian Museum in Sydney, arguably the oldest natural history museum in the world. What is this intruder doing in the museum at night? The images of the surveillance cameras provide the answer: He is visiting it.

During his 40-minute visit, the man strolls leisurely through the exhibition halls, looks at the exhibits and takes selfies, preferably with dinosaur skeletons. He even sticks his head between the long teeth in the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex! On this very head he is wearing a cowboy hat for most of the time, which according to media reports he stole from the workstation of a museum employee.

It is still completely unclear how the man – a 25-year-old German student, by the way – was able to get into the museum without triggering the alarm. The story is causing a lot of laughter on the Internet. But: When he finally left the museum, he took the hat with him, as well as a so far unidentified artefact. So technically speaking, this night at the museum was a robbery.

So far only the perpetrator knows what his motive was. He has since turned himself in to the police. On June 1st he will be brought before the judge.

Skeletons and children with big eyes: Natural history museums are places of wonder, which even many an adult cannot resist. This photo shows the Australian Museum in 1950.

The Natural History Museum in Sydney has been closed since August 2019 due to renovation work and will be closed for a few more months. So one could suppose that the perpetrator is an avid museum or dinosaur enthusiast, who desperately wanted to see the exhibition before returning to Germany.

After the last months without museums and cultural life, this urge is somehow almost understandable.


The Guardian published video footage from the surveillance cameras.

Inevitably, this story brought to mind the Hollywood film series “Night at the Museum”.