Sunday, March 15, 2015

International Exhibition of SH

I couldn't time my trip to London last year to coincide with the Sherlock Holmes exhibit at the Museum of London, so when I saw a similar exhibition in Dallas, I decided to go. It gave me something to do on the Ides of March, as I don't want to see the Cinderella movie. The museum tickets and parking cost a lot of money, though, so I decided to see this instead of the Watson intelligence play that I mentioned before.

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes is an interactive experience where you're given a notebook and are supposed to solve a crime while going on a tour. It was a little confusing at first as I tried to figure out that I was supposed to insert the pages of the notebook into various machines that would stamp, emboss, or punch holes to show that I had collected some evidence. It was also very crowded, so I often had to wait to get to each section of the exhibit. I messed up the first time through on one part, but was able to figure out which clue I got wrong, so I could fix it. The solution was appropriately weird, involving a Pinkerton detective and coded messages sent by seedpods.

But besides the mystery game, the exhibit had a lot of interesting displays, featuring various Conan Doyle artifacts, Victoriana, and props from the Guy Ritchie movies starring Robert Downey Jr. I did appreciate that the exhibit recognized many different incarnations of Holmes over the years, instead of just glorifying BBC Sherlock. There were posters for Elementary, the Guy Ritchie movies, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, a video clip from Without a Clue and more. I enjoyed seeing their version of the 221B sitting room, even including (fake) ears from the "Cardboard Box" story. I was told not to photograph anything, so I didn't take pictures. At the end, I thought about buying a souvenir book, but decided that I had already spent enough money today.

The exhibit seemed to be sponsored by or have some connection to the Conan Doyle estate, for there were two video messages from Richard Doyle, the grand-nephew of ACD. If the copyright holders choose to make their money this way instead of by trying to stifle Holmes fiction (like they did during Leslie Klinger's lawsuit), then I won't mind. But I will certainly be glad when finally all the canon stories are out of copyright here in America. Long live Holmes fiction! I don't know if I will see the new Holmes movie starring Ian McKellan, because I hated the book, but it's good to see new actors take on the role.

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