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B.J. Novak 'Pardoned' by Museum for 'Elaborate Prank' He Pulled in High School

'The Office' alum thought it "might be a sting operation" when he returned to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Friday 12 years after pulling the prank

<p>David Livingston/Getty</p> B. J. Novak attends the HBO Emmy

David Livingston/Getty

B. J. Novak attends the HBO Emmy's Party 2022 at San Vicente Bungalows on September 12, 2022 in West Hollywood, California.

B.J. Novak is back in the good graces of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The Office alum returned to the museum last Friday and was granted an “official pardon” nearly three decades after he pulled the prank of swapping out the audio guides in an exhibit.

“It’s official: 27 years after a prank at the @mfaboston in which the audio cassette guides were switched with an ‘original’ tour, I have been granted an official pardon,” Novak, 44, shared on Instagram Tuesday. “It was unbelievable to speak at the MFA about ‘Art & Pranks’ with my great lifelong friend @another.amir moderating.”

“I even got to talk to Edwin the security guard who was there on the day of the prank. I thought it might be a sting operation at first,” he added. “But it seems all is well. Thank you MFA for your sense of humor and mercy and to everyone in Boston who came to see it.”

Related: B.J. Novak Says Someone Sent Him Mindy Kaling's Cherry Cocktail from 'The Office' at a Bar: 'IYKYK'

<p>Tim Correira </p>

Tim Correira

Alongside his message, the actor shared several photos of his visit to the museum — including a close-up of the pardon — as well as a picture of him holding the pardon with Museum of Fine Arts director Matthew Teitelbaum.

The post also included a throwback photo of the cassette — titled “Tales of the Land of Dragons” — which he used for the prank in 1997 and a newspaper clipping which detailed the prank. The story read: “A handful of visitors who took the audio tour of the Museum of Fine Arts’s ‘Tales From the Land of Dragons’ exhibition last weekend got a less-than-scholarly guide to the display of ancient Chinese art.”

“A prankster switched some of the standard tapes with versions narrated by a man who identified himself as Lev Davidovich Bronstein, a Russian-accented antipedant whose tour begins exactly like the MFA’s, then devolves into a rambling rant,” the description continued. “‘Bronstein’ makes juvenile jokes and ultimately encourages listeners moving left, right, and around the galleries to the hokeypokey.”

Related: Mindy Kaling Recalls 'Genuinely Scary' Moment a Man Broke into B.J. Novak's Car While She Was Pregnant

<p>Tim Correira </p>

Tim Correira

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The museum also had a little fun on social media confirming that Novak had been forgiven.

“We hereby proclaim @bjnovak officially pardoned for the elaborate prank he pulled at the MFA in high school,” the museum shared on X (formerly known as Twitter).

“Last Friday night we welcomed B.J. to regale a sold-out crowd with stories from his youth, as part of our Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Celebrity Lecture Series,” the message continued. “In 1997, B.J. recorded over audio guides for an MFA exhibition—a stunt that both confused countless innocent visitors and showed us that even the pettiest and most sophomoric pranksters among us can leave an impact on a historic institution.”

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