Mysteries abound at OMSI’s new Sherlock Holmes exhibit

See why guests find their senses stimulated, as they discover the science behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective …

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes immerses visitors in realistic settings, such as this 19th century London underground train station.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Since the opening of The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) on October 10, lovers of mystery novels, amateur sleuths, and budding forensic scientists are immersing themselves in this sensory-rich environment on the east bank of the Willamette River.

“We are super excited to have the exhibition here,” grinned OMSI VP of Exhibits Kevin Kearns at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

OMSI VP os Exhibits Kevin Kearns, and Richard John Francis Doyle, together cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the exhibit at OMSI.

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes was partnership among major museum exhibit developers and OMSI’s experts that created the graphic design, marketing, and educational materials, he said

“This exhibit is important to our mission,” Kearns told East Portland News, because serves as an ‘entry point’ for scientific investigation. It uses popular culture to introduce science and forensics topics. These artifacts, supplied by the Conan Doyle Estate, are awesome.”

Greg Nibler and Sarah X. Dylan of Funemployment Radio look for clues in this in a display case containing forensic samples.

Original manuscripts, on loan from the Doyle Estate, are on display.

Part of the exhibition is a follow-along new mystery, authorized by the Conan Doyle Estate, in which visitors explore, participate, and solve, Kerns pointed out.

Handling the giant ceremonial ribbon-cutting scissors was Richard John Francis Doyle. “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was my grandfather’s big brother,” Doyle said. “The exhibit is fabulous! I’m really enjoying it. It’s a new idea; a way to get people to think for themselves. It’s about society. It’s adventurous and scientific. In short, it’s just spectacular!”

The basic elements of scientific crime investigation are laid out at illustrated stations.

This workbench holds “period-authentic” scientific detection tools of the trade, similar to what Sherlock Holmes was said to use.

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes features original manuscripts and period artifacts, investigative tools influenced and used by the fictional detective, and interactive crime-solving opportunities.

As visitors wind their way through the two-level exhibition, they find themselves in a 19th century London underground train station. With a “note-taking pad” in hand, explorers look for clues – and stamp their note pad at several of the exhibit stations.

At each key learning station, guests have the opportunity to stamp their “note-taking book” as they go through the exhibit.

By following the instructions and clues, the mystery is later revealed.

Many guests remarked on the “Parlor” room, embellished with furniture, fixtures, and instruments ascribed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the physician and explorer turned mystery writer.

Guests explore the realistic depiction of Sherlock Holmes’ study.

This unique, immersive experience shows how Sherlock Holmes – and his creator – were scientific experts ahead of their time: Essentially creating the field of forensic crime detection.

The cost of admission to this exhibit: Adults $18; Members $5; Youths (3-13)/Seniors (63+) $13; Youth and Senior members $3. Prices include admission to the museum itself.

OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503/797-4000 or visit their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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