Okay, are you ready for a tale of tragedy, comedy and mice?

We have another story, and you’ll be glad you came for the ride:
(if you’ve been following us for 2+ years you’ll have heard this one already. Sue us.)
A few years ago we realised the museum was – among many other things – ‘too brown’, so we had a makeover.

As in, rip-out-the-organs-dust-down-the-bones-and-start-again makeover.
Imagine walls of Dexter-esque plastic sheets, exposed wires, @MuseumLadders and more Glaswegian builders than you could shake an Irn-Bru at.
One day a mouse looked upon this hot mess of danger and confusion and thought:

This is where I need to be.
'This is my time.'
A rogue mouse on the ground floor wasn’t the end of the world. Our fragile objects were upstairs under lock and key, and we have preventive measures to stop mice getting to them.
Our mouse looked upon these preventive measures and laughed a tiny laugh, and got upstairs anyway.

We think it climbed up a leaning pillar (or a Glaswegian?) and through the first floor grating.
You know when you walk into a @GreggsOfficial and you see the pastries, the cakes and the questionable pork products shining within?

Well, our upstairs object Store is like a Greggs for mice.
We have baskets.
We have wood.
We have smocks.
We have everything a mouse can nibble, rip, digest and ruin, and this mouse had the run of it all.

So, where did she begin?
Faced with this feast of thousands of objects, our mouse zeroed in on the *one* shelf dedicated to historic mousetraps, crawled inside a trap and died.
This might have been one of the unluckiest or stupidest mice ever to have walked this earth.
The humane mousetrap itself was patented by Colin Pullinger in 1861, and was marketed as the ‘perpetual mousetrap’.

Which is very apt.
It seems the mouse nibbled the string of the attached label, followed it inside and couldn’t get out. If we’d found her in time we would have released her outside.
We had her prepared by a taxidermist and reinstated inside her tomb.

(We appreciate this is quite morbid.)
So there you go.

A story of design which lasts centuries, and the bad luck of mice in this cruel world.
We also work very hard to ensure the objects we keep for today and future generations are safe, but every so often something always slips through.

We are constantly monitoring for pests and conserving our objects against damage.
If you want to see our mouse, it’s on display in our #free museum in the big case you see when you first come in.

You also don’t need to be a mouse to browse our upstairs store now, as it’s all open access: merl.reading.ac.uk/visit-us/galle…
You can also read our original blog from back in 2016: merl.reading.ac.uk/news-and-views…

And read more about the mousetrap itself on our catalogue: reading.ac.uk/adlib/Details/…
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