It’s No Mystery – Teens Are Super Sleuths

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on March 21st, 2012

Teens who attended the Mystery Party Friday night at the Woodson Art Museum delved into role-playing improvisation and honed their sleuthing skills as they tried to solve the crime of the evening – the disappearance of a pink dinosaur guest.
If you’ve ever played the board game Clue™, you’ve got the idea.
Upon entry, each teen received a description of a character to portray and spent the first hour circulating and learning about the fossil and dinosaur hunters, paleobotonists, and other characters assembled.

They chatted as they rolled ink onto fossil impressions and then stamped and rubbed paper to create ink prints. They interacted as they pressed fossils into clay and then poured plaster into molds to make casts. They questioned one another as they munched on grapes, pita chips and dip, cookies, and cheese cake.

Then guests were plunged into darkness. When the gallery lights came back on just moments later, the guest list had been reduced by one. Pinkasaurus had vanished.

Whodunit? Who caused the extinction of this particular pale-hued dinosaur?
Teens’ interrogations to uncover motives then kicked into high gear as they clustered around costumed Teen Art Council members who portrayed the core cast of characters for the evening:
  • Pinkasaurus and (after its disappearance) a coroner’s assistant, played by Katie Koenig
  • Detective Gary Westion, played by Alex Hintz
  • Coroner Dr. Mourir, played by Charlotte Baker
  • Miss Susie Sunshine, played by MacKenzie Neuner
  • Fashion journalist Nikki Jewell, played by Hailey Muetzel
  • Ivy Lee, played by Kelsey Jane Holdridge
  • Dinosaur hunters, played by Dillon Quintana and Nicole Linnell
After presenting evidence he’d gathered and found on various suspects – a torn fossil permit, plant leaves, a cork from a bottle of poison, and a zipper tab from a leather purse – Detective Gary Westion announced that Miss Susie Sunshine, despite her perky personality, was indeed the culprit. Her motive? Pinkasaurus’ distinctively colored hide, which Miss Sunshine wanted to use for a new line of fashionable purses.
With suspicions confirmed and the mystery solved, guests turned their attention to entering a drawing to win iTunes cards, Noodles & Company dinner certificates, candy eggs, water bottles, and a dinosaur puzzle ball.
Several sixth-grade students, who’d been encouraged to attend by D.C. Everest Middle School science teacher Tammy Koenig, clamored for more information about how to get involved with the Museum’s Junior TAC next fall. Many said they loved the mystery party theme.
Several TAC members said that as they plan themed evening teen events to complement future exhibitions, they’ll be eager to revisit the mystery party theme concept.
Next on TAC’s agenda is SPACE: Art Exhibition for Teens. Area teens, 13-18, are invited to submit digital images of artwork in any medium through March 31. An online public vote, April 10-20, selects about two dozen artworks for display at the Museum in May.
Be sure to cast your vote at and stay tuned for more great TAC-planned events!

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