You might well have seen this already – it’s gone viral in museum circles – but just in case you haven’t: King Philip IV recently signed autographs in front of his Velazquez portrait at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Well, sort of.

Scroll down and read the comments on Improv Everywhere’s write-up of the stunt. They’re from an obviously biased source – most people loved the prank – but they also do not seem to be typical museum goers. Here’s a comment that struck fear and hope into my heart: “Museums are so stuffy and pretentious…they need things like this to make them fun places for real human beings. Brilliant!!!!”

Did the Met security guard do the right thing in ushering the actors out? Should museums as a whole be encouraging more of this sort of thing – or less?

(In my ideal world, the Met let them go on for at least an hour, and then sat down to meet with the group about more museum-themed pranks – spontaneous, charming expressions of whimsy that inject life into the galleries. But maybe some of you disagree with me! Comment on this post and let’s start a conversation.)