One of those exhibits is a McCormick reaper that has been meticulously restored and is on permanent loan to the Museum from the Glasscock County FFA chapter. With the assistance of Museum Arts, we have installed a very realistic exhibit showing the reaper and its operation. To complete this exhibit, Museum Arts strongly recommended that we obtain professionally preserved mules in full harness to allow our visitors to understand how essential animal power was to this stage of American agriculture. Our board did consider the use of fiberglass replicas but were advised that theimpact of the exhibit would be substantially diminished. Mr. Phil Paramore of Museum Arts said, The reason that you use a real animal is to most accurately show the way the activity was done at the time. A fiberglass replica just doesnt convey the same message. When we can find animals that were scheduledto be destroyed anyway and then immortalize them in an exhibit, we can really show their importance in the development of agriculture.
After an exhaustive but fruitless search for preserved, exhibit-quality animals, one of our board members learned that an area horse and mule trader had purchased a pair of mules that would fit our needs. According to the owner, the animals had reached the advanced ages of about 28 and 32,respectively, and were no longer sound or strong enough for normal use. Had the Museum not purchased these animals, the next option for the trader would have been to sell them to be transported into Mexico for slaughter for dog food.
Instead, the mules were humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian and will become excellent educational exhibits for years and years to come.