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Sherlock Holmes Exhibit Steps Through Time To Solve Crime

The game's afoot, this time at the Saint Louis Science Center.

“The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes” brings Arthur Conan Doyle’s brilliant detective to St. Louis, nearly 130 years after he was created, and lets science center patrons test their powers of observation and crime-solving skills.

“True forensics didn’t start until after Sherlock Holmes was becoming popular,” said Geoffrey Curley, the exhibit’s lead designer. “And Sherlock Holmes didn’t start forensic science. But it certainly encouraged the public to demand that style of evidence to be provided for solving crimes, and demanded the police to solve crimes in that way.”

“Sherlock Holmes’ attention to detail is amazing,” said Randy Getz, leader of the Noble Bachelors of St. Louis, St. Louis’ oldest Sherlockian group. “And Doyle's style of writing, being so true to London and characters and names, which of course lends itself to all of the five local Sherlock Holmes Societies being able to center all kinds of activities around those events.”

In addition to the Noble Bachelors, which was founded in 1969, St. Louis’ Sherlockian fan clubs include the Occupants of the Empty House, Jefferson Hope Society of St. Louis, Parallel Case of St. Louis and Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn.

Stepping Back In Time

The exhibit creates a new mystery in old London. After stepping into Victorian London, patrons learn about new-at-the-time technology, and get to visit 221B Baker St. — Holmes’ home.

“This might perhaps be the best rendition of 221B existing, if not forever,” Curley said.

“I saw it for the first time the other day, and the attention to detail is just amazing,” Getz said. “It is so cool.”

Patrons explore a crime scene and are presented with assumptions about the crime from the police, and are then asked to evaluate and test theories to figure out what happened.

“We really look and focus on what brought about this character … and then the innovations of that time period,” Curley said. “It was the end of the second industrial revolution. There was a lot of very new, high-tech things that Sherlock Holmes used at that time. Communications — the telegraph; the newspapers even, where you would get two newspapers a day. You could understand what was going on around the globe regularly. This was all very new and innovative, and Sherlock Holmes grabbed on to those things and used them as tools, as we do today in our new innovations.”

Related Event

"The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes"

  • When: Oct. 9, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015; the museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
  • Where: St. Louis Science Center
  • Ticket information: Tickets are available online and at the science center.
  • More information

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