Crack the case at the Museum of World Treasures

Emily Loy, left, and Kristin Martin will perform in the “Murder at the Museum” event at the Museum of World Treasures.
Emily Loy, left, and Kristin Martin will perform in the “Murder at the Museum” event at the Museum of World Treasures. The Wichita Eagle

It’s murder working at the Museum of World Treasures these days. In a good way.

Early this week staff members were putting final touches on “Murder at the Museum,” the museum’s inaugural foray into the interactive mystery entertainment genre.

Set in the Roaring Twenties, the mystery involves the murder of a guest in The Juice Joint Speakeasy. Each ticket to Friday night’s sold-out event comes with a character’s identity that the holder assumes when he or she arrives at the museum (or when they’re donning a costume beforehand, as they’re encouraged to do).

“It’s a 1920s speakeasy so there are flappers, there’s Rosie Marie, who’s the juice joint owner,” said Kristin Martin, the museum’s education director and volunteer coordinator. “There’s a police chief and investigator, mob bosses – everything you’d expect in a classic 1920s speakeasy.”

The deceased and his or her killer are among ticket holders, although they won’t find that out until they arrive. (And no, the deceased doesn’t have to portray a corpse all night, just long enough to provide an outline for police tape.)

“Everyone has a participant role,” marketing director Rachel Stanley said. “They all have objectives, they’ve got to talk to people and figure out clues.”

And at the end, they get to guess the murderer’s identity, with prizes for everyone who solves the mystery.

Martin said the event is being held in partnership with The Big Read, a program of the Wichita Public Library and the National Endowment for the Arts that promotes reading by encouraging an entire community to pick up the same book. “The Maltese Falcon,” a classic 1929 detective novel by Dashiell Hammett, is Wichita’s Big Read book this year.

“That was the idea that sparked this,” Martin said. “I thought, what better than a murder mystery?”

The setting of the mystery also allows the museum to take advantage of some exhibits from the early part of last century.

“It is a fun thing, but we are going to be using a real artifact as the murder weapon,” Martin said, adding that Steven King, the curator of collections, will be on hand to talk about that object and more.

Martin wouldn’t reveal the weapon but did note that the museum has an extensive collection of guns and knives from World War I.

There also will be dance music and appetizers from that era – including one made with canned fruit, which Stanley noted was popular before the fresh variety became widely available.

The museum is taking names for a waiting list for Friday’s sold-out event in case of cancellations. Those people will be given first crack at tickets for the museum’s next interactive mystery, which is already in the works and tentatively scheduled for the spring. Call 316-263-1311.

“We are planning on doing this again with different themes,” Stanley said. “We’re been really excited about the great response to this. It’s the first time we’ve ever done anything like this.”

If you go

‘Murder at the Museum’

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Museum of World Treasures, 835 E. First St.

Tickets: The event is sold out, but there is a waiting list in case of cancellations. Call 316-263-1311 or send e-mail to education@worldtreasures.org. Names on the waiting list will have first chance to purchase tickets for the next event.

Information: www.worldtreasures.org