Monday, November 21, 2016

REVIEW: The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes

Inside Sherlock's home. (All photos by the author)
Seattle’s Pacific Science Center is always trying to improve its offerings to attract both kids and their parents to keep them coming back for more and while everything exhibit is geared for families, parents might think that there reason isn’t much there for them. Not true. In fact, the new temporary International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes: Experience the Science of Deduction will entertain adults and older teens much more than the younger set. That’s not to say that the exhibit won’t appeal to all children. Kids who have a fondness for Sherlock will enjoy the event and there are some fun interactive pieces to the show that will appeal to kids, but from what I saw and experienced myself, the adults were the ones having the most fun.

There is a lot to see and take in this exhibit and there is a natural tendency to rush through it all, but I suggest fighting the urge and take it all in. The beginning of the exhibit shows real artifacts from related to Sherlock Holmes, author Dr. Conan Doyle and police and medical procedures done during this time to solve various crimes including real skulls. Tucked inside is a video featuring an interview with Sherlock Holmes' author. Many people passed by this gem, but it is fascinating to hear what the author had to say about his fame and letters he received regarding Sherlock.

As you continue your journey, you’ll receive a booklet to complete as you walk through the exhibit. You won’t need to take any notes. As you begin, you’ll learn some the basics of being a police detective. Then, you’ll get a chance to see the home of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (221B Baker Street) which is also set up as a large seek and find puzzle. Numerous items are hidden in the scene and while you’ll want to rush through it, take your time to find every last item. (How do you expect to become a detective if you can't find the harpoon?)

Next, you’ll listen to a recording from Sherlock himself asking for your help in solving a crime. The crime is a new mystery not found in any of Doyle's books. Then, you’ll actually get to walk about a crime scene. Take advantage of looking at it from all angles. While crowds would bunch up in certain areas of the display, I found that I could look through the window on the back of the display with no one to compete with for space.

You’ll then be given a list of “assignments” to carry out in order to deduce if the person accused of the crime really did it and if so, if the police actually had all of their facts correct (hint: they didn’t). After the murder is solved, you’ll head upstairs to view numerous props and costumes used in the current TV series Sherlock, Elementary as well as many different movies over the years. It's pretty great.

Of course, the event ends up in a gift shop. The great news here is that you’ll find all sorts of unique things that you won’t find anywhere else. While some have price tags bigger than most of us would like to shell out for, there were a surprising number of reasonably-priced items as well. My wife picked up a very creative necklace for just $10 and my son bought three books that were pretty cheap.

Overall, this is a great exhibit to visit on a rainy, dreary day and makes for a unique date as well.

For more information on this attraction, including admission prices and times, click here.

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