About this Event

author Patrick Bringley

HOWARD E. WOODEN SPEAKER SERIES— Patrick Bringley: All the Beauty in the World

5:30 pm | Cash bar & hosted bites
6:30 pm | Talk Book signing will follow the author talk.

Books will be available for purchase through Watermark Books at this event.

Join Patrick Bringley, author of All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me, for a talk about finding comfort and meaning in the beauty and solitude of art. This memoir, based on his decade as a guard at the Met Museum, has been praised by the New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press, and has been named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library, NPR, the Financial Times, and the Times of London, which selected it as the outstanding art book of 2023.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum


“Patrick Bringley offers an intimate perspective on one of the world’s greatest institutions. But All the Beauty in the World is about much more: the strange human impulse to make art, the mystery of experiencing art, and what role art can play in our lives. What a gift.”

—Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind

Our Speaker

Howard E. Wooden Speaker Series with author Patrick Bringley

Patrick Bringley, author of All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me

A fascinating, revelatory portrait of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its treasures by a former New Yorker staffer who spent a decade as a museum guard.

Millions of people climb the grand marble staircase to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art every year. But only a select few have unrestricted access to every nook and cranny. They’re the guards who roam unobtrusively in dark blue suits, keeping a watchful eye on the two million square foot treasure house. Caught up in his glamorous fledgling career at The New Yorker, Patrick Bringley never thought he’d be one of them. Then his older brother was diagnosed with fatal cancer and he found himself needing to escape the mundane clamor of daily life. So he quit The New Yorker and sought solace in the most beautiful place he knew.

To his surprise and the reader’s delight, this temporary refuge becomes Bringley’s home away from home for a decade. We follow him as he guards delicate treasures from Egypt to Rome, strolls the labyrinths beneath the galleries, wears out nine pairs of company shoes, and marvels at the beautiful works in his care. Bringley enters the museum as a ghost, silent and almost invisible, but soon finds his voice and his tribe: the artworks and their creators and the lively subculture of museum guards—a gorgeous mosaic of artists, musicians, blue-collar stalwarts, immigrants, cutups, and dreamers. As his bonds with his colleagues and the art grow, he comes to understand how fortunate he is to be walled off in this little world, and how much it resembles the best aspects of the larger world to which he gradually, gratefully returns.

In the tradition of classic workplace memoirs like Lab Girl and Working Stiff, All The Beauty in the World is a surprising, inspiring portrait of a great museum, its hidden treasures, and the people who make it tick, by one of its most intimate observers.