Working

How Does a Museum’s Building Manager Do His Job?

Meet Nelson Nieves, MoMA’s assistant director for building operations. He’s also the fire and life-safety manager.

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Nelson Nieves has never been especially interested in art, yet he has one of the single most important jobs at New York’s MoMA. As the museum’s assistant director for building operations, he oversees the huge team of workers who keep the building clean and running—everyone from the janitorial staff who scour the galleries and bathrooms, to the engineers who manage the high-tech heating and cooling system. Nelson talks to Jordan about keeping workers on their toes, the comedy of trying to capture stray animals that fly into the building, and what happened the time a heart doctor had a heart attack in the middle of the building.

You can email us at working@slate.com.

Podcast production by Jessamine Molli.