Tuesday, December 24, 2013

OMSI's International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes A Hit

The crime must fit the evidence.
OMSI did a great job presenting the concepts popularized by Conan Doyle's fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.

One such idea was how so many elements of present day detective fiction originated with Doyle. Another, how science at the start of the 20th century was applied to police work. To that end, there were several galleries showing optics and lenses, botany, cosmetics, the telegraph, ballistics, and the like.

The big excitement was solving a crime. Each entrant to the exhibit was issued a small notebook that needed to be punched and stamped to reveal a hidden message as well as to assemble a body of evidence relating to a crime scene.

Breaking down the elements of the crime, we had to determine if the blood stains were caused by a shot through the chest, a flesh wound, or major artery. This was accomplished by three exhibits which illustrated each gunshot wound by squirting an appropriate pattern of red fluid on a pane of glass. We then compared what we saw to the notes we made in our notebook and then punched a page that corresponded to our choice.

We tested our hypothesis on the footprints, the shattered bust of Napoleon, and the poisonous seedpod, each with their own series of exhibits. Our final problem notebook page looked thus:

We then overlaid the page on a newspaper article and the instructions were revealed. We were sent to another gallery where we learned our analysis was correct and a full exposition of the crime revealed.

This was a really excellent, and truly interactive, exhibit and I highly recommend it for any potential sleuths out there.
Exit through the gift shop!





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