Enter the museum bench, a near ubiquitous but frequently disparaged piece of furniture as routinely overlooked as it is regularly used. In discussions of museum and gallery, the hard bench or upholstered couch rarely makes an appearance. Instead it hovers on the edge of museum studies, always there but never acknowledged, its very presence an irritating distraction from the real activity at hand: appreciating art. Even in cultural histories and architectural manuals explicitly devoted to gallery interiors and their spatial arrangement, the bench finds itself side-lined in favor of frames, walls, colors, and lighting. In scholarship on the history or design of public art exhibition spaces, the lowly bench receives barely a nod.Hidden in plain sight, museum benches are stealth objects, just below the radar. So what might happen if we acknowledge the elephant in the room? How might our understanding of aesthetic spectatorship change if we take full account of the utilitarian furniture found in most museums?