Tuesday, 1 December 2015




Who says museum staff can only consist of people? At the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic a few what we might consider to be “unusual” employees have been welcomed as part of the crew.  Currently, Merlin, a Rainbow Macaw, is responsible for greeting and chatting with museum guests. He is known to be very talkative and friendly, saying things like, “hey buddy, how are you,” “peek-a-boo” and “want a cracker.” Check out the website for more facts on Merlin and take a peek at his very own webcam!

The museum also has a few positions exclusively available to cats! This does make sense given the fact that cats have been known to be carried on expeditions in ships since ancient times. Their jobs were to get rid of rodents that often destroyed things like ropes, food and woodwork. At the Maritime Museum, the cats are given the title of “Rodent Control Officers (RCO),” and share the same responsibility. They are in charge of keeping one of the museum’s permanent exhibits, the CSS Acadia, a historic ship used for research in the early 1900s, free of mice and rats. And they are very good and enthusiastic about their jobs, showing up on time and making sure their duties are properly carried out.

The CSS Acadia. Source.

This year the museum had to bid farewell to Erik the Red, who had held the position of RCO since the year 2000. Erik, an orange tabby named after a famous Viking, was the one who actually came looking for work. He was immediately hired and accepted as part of the ship’s team. The love the staff, visitors and local shops have for Erik really warms my heart. They really do treat him as part of the family and take his position seriously. It was a sad occasion to see him go but the staff decided to send him off with a big bang. They threw a retirement party for him back in September, complete with cake, speeches, a book reading and arts and crafts activities. They also organized a hotline for people to share stories of their encounters with him. Here are some tweets on Erik's retirement.

The adorable Erik the Red. Source. 

This being my last post before the winter break, I wanted to end on an exciting note. And what is more exciting than cats working in museums?!

Hope your holidays are purrrfect!

Sources Consulted: 

The Canadian Press and CBC News. (September, 21, 2015). Erik the Red retires at Maritime Museum of the Atlantic party. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/cat-mouser-retire-party-1.3236460

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (2015). Mascots. Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/about/mascots 

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (2015). Erik the Red Swallows the Anchor. Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/event/erik-red-swallows-anchor


  1. I wish I had seen Erik when I visited the Museum in 2012, and I'm not even a cat person! Perhaps a seafaring dog or another outdoor-friendly cat will take up his post one day. Thank you for demonstrating the wonderful (species) diversity that museum staff can have.

  2. I have been inspired to visit the Museum after having done this research on it. Perhaps I will get a chance to over the break. I too am curious to see who will take up his post. I guess we will have to wait and see. Thank you for your comment Madeline!