A few weeks ago, I hit the road and went on a little field trip. Not with my students… this fun trip was just for me. And for you too. I drove down to Columbus, Ohio to visit COSI (the Center of Science and Industry) and check out the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes, a traveling exhibit that COSI is hosting now thru September 1. COSI generously provided me with an exhibit pass for the day, as well as a four pack of tickets for one lucky fan… you can read more about that at the bottom of this post. First, let me fill you in on this amazing experience.
This is a sponsored post. I received payment, trade and/or products from Cosi in exchange for promoting. However, all opinions stated are my own and I only promote brands, products, and amazing locations that I love.
The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes is a traveling museum exhibit, currently housed at COSI in Columbus, Ohio. I am a mega fan of the BBC’s Sherlock television series so when I heard that an entire exhibit based upon this classic fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was only a few hours away, I marked my calendar and started packing for the trip!
Before entering, a COSI employee informed me of the rules. My camera and cell phone had to be tucked away at all times while I visited the exhibit. I was given a small notebook for recording my observations of the “crime scene” that lay ahead, but was told that pens, pencils, and other items of the sort were not permitted. All necessary tools for documenting my discoveries would be provided within the experience.
Needless to say, I was intrigued.
I laid my camera into it’s pretty pink bag and got ready to go. (Don’t worry. I have lots of photos to share with you. COSI generously gave me permission to use their promotional photos of the event, courtesy of Robb McCormick Photography).
There were three distinct layers to the Sherlock Holmes exhibit.
A historic retrospective of the life, methods, and contemporary culture of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle set the scene for the adventure that lay ahead. Various artifacts and historical documents introduced visitors to advances in science and medicine during the time of Holmes’ inception, in addition to the actual people that inspired the character of Sherlock.
Set in a dimly lit room with eerie music, this brief historical overview included sinister evidence from actual homicides of the era and successfully captured the intrigue of Sherlock Holmes.
The second realm of the exhibition guided visitors through the streets of London in the 1800s and provided a cultural education in the era of Sherlock Holmes. Patrons are briefly “trained” in several forensic areas of the time: photography, news, cosmetics, telegraph, ballistics, and more. A visit to each booth in the room provided helpful background knowledge for unlocking the crime evidence that would soon unfold.
Two telegraph stations in this setting taught visitors basic morse code. The stations were several feet apart from one another and guests were invited to send an actual morse code message on the telegraph to a friend at the opposite station. In our current world of technological advances, this provided a great retrospective on how far our communication tools have advanced over time.
Many cosmetics in the 1800s contained poisons. While this storefront display may seem out of place, it quickly became relevant to understanding the evidence in the awaiting crime scene.
My walk through the streets brought me to several other stations.
At each stop a lantern prompted me to collect data in my notebook. As promised, a pen or pencil were not needed. Instead, a simple push of a button stamped my notebook with information gathered at every station. This was so ingenious.
A visit to the newspaper booth was a bit different. Instead of collecting a stamp, visitors rubbed a sample of an encrypted message, then had to decipher the code.
After becoming an expert in nineteenth century forensic science, I was finally ready to proceed to the third phase of the exhibit: the crime scene.
A turn of the corner led me directly into the home of the one-and-only Sherlock Holmes. Of course, the great Sherlock was not present, he left a recording on his Edison phonograph with a very detailed description of the crime in question and the evidence to investigate. Listening to the voice of Sherlock Holmes was a unique and creative personal touch that gave the exhibit a true air of authenticity.
Of course I could not resist the urge to take a stroll around the living quarters of Sherlock Holmes.
There were so many details of his fictional life scattered about the scene.
A summary of the crime scene ahead was displayed in one corner of the room; another message from Sherlock to his visitors.
The remainder of the exhibit was dedicated to solving a rather mysterious crime.
Behold, the crime scene:
After observing the crime scene and recalling the details of the case, patrons visited several stations (created by Sherlock of course) test various theories for the details in the evidence.
I don’t want to say too much or spoil any surprises about the nature of the crime (or evidence), but just take a quick peek at a few of the stations for investigation. Each one of these contraptions was clearly designed for visitor interaction. Discovering the truth of what happened required careful examination of the evidence and an investigation of various theories. Solving the mystery of the crime was a completely unique experience and I was enchanted by the 19th century world that surrounded me every step of the way.
Once all the evidence had been gathered and recorded in my notebook, I headed to “The Gazette” station to decipher a code in the newspaper. The code gave me instructions to head to a specific location on my journey, which was critical to solving the mystery of the crime. At that location, all was revealed!
Needless to say, the experience did not disappoint.
The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes will only be at COSI until September 1. This is an event you do not want to miss.
Enter to Win a 4-Pack of Tickets for Sherlock Holmes at COSI
Now that you have heard how amazing the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at COSI, how would you like to win a 4 pack of tickets? Get your family, pack your bags, get ready to hit the road and head to COSI in Columbus. But first, use the rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN!
Learn More about COSI
The Sherlock Holmes exhibit may be a temporary event, but COSI has so much to offer! The entire facility is beautiful, interactive for children of all ages, and like nothing else I have ever seen. Visit the COSI website and start planning your trip to Columbus.
COSI On Wheels
What’s better than planning a trip to COSI? Having COSI on Wheels visit your school! My school recently came to my own school to deliver a hands-on presentation for K-8 students on chemistry. Read all about the amazing experience for my kindergarten students.