Another Mystery at the Museum

A couple of years ago, I devised a murder game for the local historical museum based on characters who once lived in the area. Last year, due to The Bob, there wasn’t any such event, but here we are, slowly getting back into activities, and so once again, I need to create a murder.

It’s a good thing I keep my documents because until I looked at what I wrote for that first Murder Mystery at the Museum, I’d forgotten I’d based it on the game of Clue, using colors for the characters names — Mrs. Peacock, Colonel Mustard, etc. I also used some historical figures for the victim and various backstory folk, which I will probably do again because, after all, this is a fundraiser for a historical museum.

This new mystery will take place in the 1890s, about fifteen historical years later than the first. The date isn’t arbitrary. The murder will take place in a hotel that was built in 1890, more because of the research I did on the woman who owned the hotel than for any other reason.

Because of the setting of the mystery, the characters can be almost anyone because so many people traveled through the area and stayed at the hotel, such as a circuit judge, traveling salespeople, preachers, cowboys. Any of the various employees, such as chambermaids and waitresses as well as the proprietor herself could also play a part.

Then there is the possibility of other popular characters of the day, such as a lady reporter or a kid detective. Or perennially popular characters such as a medicine man or even a ghost.

Lots of possibilities! As always, the challenge is figuring how to pepper clues around the museum to help people solve the mystery. I didn’t do that well with solid clues the first time, relying more on the written clues in the handout and on the characters who played the part rather than clues for people to find.

Luckily, I still have a couple of months to figure all this out.

If you have any suggestions, I’ll be glad to hear them!


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

13 Responses to “Another Mystery at the Museum”

  1. Estragon Says:

    Just a thought… fingerprinting as a means of criminal identification started coming into use circa 1890’s. The first recorded resolution of a crime using fingerprints was in 1892:

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I like the possibility of ghosts! As well as con men and hucksters. And maybe even a time traveler (it could happen). Good luck coming up with the murder and the mystery.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I added those to my notes. I thought a ghost would be good because the ghost could go around asking people to find her killer and be available to answer questions and offer clues about what happened to her.

      • rami ungar the writer Says:

        Nice! Oh, if you’re utilizing ghosts and it’s 1890, look into the Spiritualism movement. They were big back then. You could use them and their beliefs when it comes to the ghost.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          Of course! Too bad I don’t do group things with strangers anymore otherwise I could go as a gypsy fortuneteller and offer clues to the killer.

          • rami ungar the writer Says:

            Probably just having a lady there to conduct “seances” would do the trick.

          • Pat Bertram Says:

            Added to my list! Thanks for the help.

          • rami ungar the writer Says:

            Anytime. And have fun researching spiritualism. Trust me, it’s a wild ride.

          • Estragon Says:

            Expanding a bit on the ghost theme, Nicola Tesla apparently had an experimental installation built in Colorado Springs in the late 1890s. Among other things, Tesla was a promoter, and there was a bit of a mystical/magical thing with electricity in those days. Very few people would have really understood AC power at the time, but I suspect there was a lot of speculation and gossip (eg. Tesla/Westinghouse vs Edison “war of currents”). It might be kind of fun to play with that some.

          • Pat Bertram Says:

            Of course! Tesla! One thing that always interested me about him was his earth energy theory. He thought that we could get all the energy we needed directly from the earth from something akin to a satellite dish, and in fact, he supposedly perfected it, but no one has been able to figure out how to meter it (free energy? “The Powers That Be” would never allow that.) I’ve also read that the explosion in Siberia around 1908 was the result of one of his earth energy experiments.

  3. Uthayanan Says:

    It is really intriguing. At the moment I have no idea. I wish you good luck.
    One clue please find a woman character in this picture with your choice!

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