The story behind these tiny mouse-themed shops popping up in Boston

A Swedish art collective has brought a series of extremely detailed, rodent-friendly art installations to our streets.


Photo courtesy of AnonyMouse.

While tensions between man and mouse are rising here, in the Boston area we have no shortage of aggressive tactics to keep rodents in their place. We defend ourselves with poison and traps both humanely and otherwise in our homes. We urge city officials to kick their little rat asses out of the neighborhoods where their ranks have grown in recent years. We shackle them in state-of-the-art electrocution chambers and use the latest zapping technology to gain the upper hand. The only time we’ve been able to join forces is to enlist genetically engineered rat super soldiers in a cross-species fight against ticks.

But what if relations between our species and theirs weren’t quite so hostile? What if, instead of attacking our little, furry enemies, we allowed rodent culture to thrive and give them the comforts they crave—boulangeries, art galleries, cute little antique shops—so that we not only live together in wartime, but also in wartime can in peace?

This appears to be the imagination of a Swedish artist collective called AnonyMouse, who turned up unannounced in Boston this week and installed a series of knee-high and thought-provoking artworks on our sidewalks.

There are ten of them in total across five Boston-area locations, all of which are tiny but incredibly detailed dioramas of an imaginary society of mice that the artists envision having such destinations as a change shop called Whiskers & Tail, a Petite, would include a newsagents called The Mouzette and, in emergencies, a Mousachusetts Fire Department. Each is illuminated with small battery operated lights that really complete the illusion that mice are happily out there minding their own business and buying milligrams of cheese in small paper wrapped bundles rather than invading your kitchen and cheez-its out of yours to steal pantry.

The “Mousachusetts Fire Brigade”, location unspecified. Photo courtesy of AnonyMouse

The first to catch the attention of Bostonians was the aforementioned Mouzette, whose neighbor is the Massachusetts Mouseum of Fine Art, which sprung up earlier this week unannounced and without explanation.

So what’s the point?

A member of the group who asked not to be named to remain anonymous… Maus explains that the idea is to help us reconnect with our childhood and our streets. “In this project, we like to imagine a world, just out of sight, where small animals live just like us, but recycle things that we’ve lost or thrown away,” the rat representative tells me over email. “It’s also about public space. What we want to use it for and what it should look like. The answer doesn’t have to be a mouse restaurant, but that’s just for now. Maybe something will come after that. So essentially it’s about bringing a little of the magic of everyday life to people who happen to stumble upon it.”

The project has been underway for some time now, the source says, and has included artists who traveled here from Sweden and took measurements at various nooks and crannies around the Boston area before constructing each of the highly detailed pieces and installing them this week. While they often do so without permission and pursue some sort of delightful guerrilla artwork, this particular series was commissioned by local developer WS Development.

This isn’t AnonyMouse’s first rodent eo. Since 2016, the group has been erecting their miniature artworks across Sweden and has built a community of around 175,000 followers on Instagram. You might have stumbled upon some of their more popular ideas along the way, such as a small music store they built at home called Ricotta Records.

Where to find these things in Massachusetts, Anonymouse finds that, uh, moulting is half the fun. They won’t tell, but citizen journalists and professional journalists have so far tracked them down in Seaport, Lynnfield, and Chestnut Hill.

They also sent us some pictures that might help point you in the right direction. So happy hunting.

Photo courtesy of AnonyMouse

Photo courtesy of AnonyMouse

Photo courtesy of AnonyMouse.

Photo courtesy of AnonyMouse

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