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Audience members take part in interactive mystery

Mark Holbrook, Priscilla Hewittson, Robin and Richard Schuricht, and Joel Flint are members of the Mayhem and Mystery cast.

Take a trip back in time, solve a mystery and lose yourself in a classic whodunit at the Mayhem and Mystery in the Museum Dinner Theater. The event is 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Ohio Historical Center.

“It is not a play that comes in and takes place on stage,” said Mike Follin, the interpretation coordinator at the Ohio Historical Society’s Education and Interpretation Division. “It’s not like a staged Act I, Act II, Act III kind [of play].”

Guests receive their assigned identities, varying from a wealthy donor of the museum to a newspaper reporter, as they enter the door or find their seats.

Set in the 1930s, the interactive performance begins after the buffet dinner when the chief curator unveils a magical necklace that belonged to a mummy princess.

The necklace was originally found inside the mummy’s sarcophagus and has mysteriously gone missing. The museum maintains an authentic mummy and plans to take advantage of actual artifacts by incorporating them throughout the evening.

The guests are then encouraged to wander the history galleries and learn about the true nature of the artifacts while searching for hidden clues.

Intermingled with the guests are five characters who, in the mystery’s story line, are actually mannequins brought to life by the necklace’s powers.

These are the five main suspects of the night, but they also help guests understand the clues and follow them to solve the mystery.

These characters include the chief curator, the secretary and the custodian, who are all members of the museum staff, along with two donors who are guests.

“The idea is that it is kind of a mystery within a mystery. Number one, you are looking for the necklace, which has disappeared, while trying to figure out which one of the five prime suspects might be the one who stole it,” Follin said. “And the second thing you’re looking for is who among the guests are in fact real and who are not real. The audience is really solving two separate mysteries.”

This is the only time the event will take place in the fall, but it is expected to be repeated again in spring. This is a first for the museum because past performances were in the Ohio Village, which is adjacent to the Ohio Historical Society.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and cost $60 for adults and $50 for Ohio Historical Center members. For reservations, call 1-800-686-6124.

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