Thursday, November 10, 2011

Whodunnit at Night at Our Museum?

By Amy Hollister, Cooperstown Graduate Program Student

If you didn’t attend Night at Our Museum last weekend at Fenimore Art Museum, you missed an evening of art, crafts, music, and mystery. Will & Will entertained with musical stylings for the entire family, while the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown Art Association, The Glimmerglass Festival, The Brookwood School, and Cherry Valley Artworks provided art activities.

Will and Will were a highlight of the evening.

The excitement of the night centered on a mystery – just before the concert, a visitor’s purse went missing. Visitors divided into groups and worked with a detective and security to solve the case. And solve it they did! Using clues, young detectives roped off the galleries and scoured the crime scenes – and by crime scenes, we mean paintings. It turns out that at night the paintings come to life, and within the artwork lay the clues to catching the culprit!

Even if you didn’t attend, it’s not too late to solve the mystery. The clues and pictures of the crime scene are posted below. There are many things to consider when looking at art, but there are a few questions that provide a good start to your investigation:
1. “What is going on in this painting?”
2. “What do I see that makes me say that?”
Now it’s time to test your sleuthing skills! We’ve provided the clues and the paintings below.

Feathers at the scene of the crime
When our young detectives checked the purse’s last known location, all they found was bird feathers.

Quilting in the Clark
Two women sitting in the Unfolding Stories: Culture and Tradition in American Quilts exhibition were putting together a friendship quilt and had some conflicting tips. One woman said the purse thief was wearing black, and the other said she was wearing blue. It was hard to get a straight story, though, since they were arguing over quilting styles – and boy, was that a heated argument! We didn’t want our detectives to get caught in the cross-fire of fabric swatches and thread, so we left the gallery pretty quickly.

Young Boys Run Amuck in the Genre Gallery
Detective Henson and young detectives question the Village Post Office Lady and Mrs. McCormick.

In the genre gallery, we overheard Mrs. McCormick grumpily explaining to the Village Post Office Lady about the dangers of young boys. Unfortunately, neither Mrs. McCormick nor the Village Post Office Lady had much to contribute to the investigation. Do you see anything in the painting that could solve the case?

Eliza rocks in front of her post-mortem portrait. Can you find any clues in the painting?

Poor Eliza; she’s sad, and we don’t know why. Eliza was rocking in her chair when we got up to the gallery. From her, we learned that the thief was skinny, mean, and had a covered head. But this describes too many people! Investigate the painting to see if you can figure out anything to add to the case – or a clue to Eliza’s melancholy state. Is she upset because she stole the purse?

Those were all the clues the young detectives found. With such little information, it would take outstanding skills to find the thief. But, by vote of applause, the case was solved! The thief came forward. Check the comments section of this post for the answer – but only after you do your best to solve the case. Who do you think took the purse and why?

Visitors voted, by round of applause, on who they thought stole the purse.

A Night at Our Museum was a great success. Next year will bring a new mystery, new clues, and new crime scenes. We hope to see you there!

1 comment:

blog team said...

The thief was Mrs. McCormick! Her love for the color blue overcame her common sense, and she took the purse.

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