Sarah Myers, Director of Travelling Exhibits at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Sarah Myers is director of travelling exhibits at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. In this edition of The Friday Five, she shares details of the newly opened SCOOBY-DOO!™ Mansion Mayhem exhibit.

The museum regularly hosts travelling exhibits. What do you look for when bringing a temporary exhibit to the museum?

We choose temporary exhibitions based on how those experiences will support family learning and the variety of offerings each year. Exhibits that feature topics across the arts, sciences, humanities, sports, and popular culture are all important and we look at what compliments our permanent experiences.

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Tell us about the SCOOBY-DOO!™ Mansion Mayhem exhibit.

In SCOOBY-DOO!™ Mansion Mayhem, visitors are invited to work alongside Mystery Inc. at Jekyll-Hyde Mansion to solve the case of the jewel-thieving ghost. Summoning their courage, families enter the exhibit ready to observe, ask questions, and interpret clues to help the gang crack the case!

After passing through the family cemetery, visitors can pose for a photo with The Mystery Machine (the iconic van the Scooby-Doo gang travelled in). The Mystery Machine is on loan from the Warner Bros. Corporate Archives. The vehicle was used in filming Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed in 2004.

Just past The Mystery Machine are display cases that showcase some original pitch boards of the cartoon, including one that has Scooby-Doo as a small white dog and the version that was finally picked up by CBS. There is also an object display case about the character people either love or hate, Scrappy-Doo.

“Inside” the mansion, the Mystery Inc. leader, Fred, told the gang to split up and search the mansion for clues. Throughout the exhibit, visitors explore four areas of the mansion looking for and interpreting clues alongside the Mystery Inc. gang.

Velma headed to the mansion library and music room to do research and find clues that will help Mystery Inc. crack the case. During her initial search of the room she collected a few clues and noticed some strange green fingerprints in a couple of locations, but then “Jinkies!” She lost her glasses! Since she can’t see anything without her glasses, Velma calls upon visitors to help finish her investigation by using a clue analyzer (touchscreen interactive) on the clues she has found. She also encourages visitors to take a closer look at the mysterious green fingerprints near the room’s pipe organ and bookcase — two more hands-on interactives hiding clues to the mystery.

Daphne headed to the mansion’s hall of portraits to use her people skills and knack for fashion to comb for clues hidden among pictures of its inhabitants past and present. Daphne invites visitors to search the portraits with her. Some may notice that a couple of portraits might be watching them! Visitors discover a hidden safe behind one of the portraits that contains a note revealing the motive behind the villain’s jewel-thieving crimes. Families also find the villain’s control panel, which gives them the opportunity to try out some of the villain’s illusions to spook other visitors through lighting and sound effects.

After telling the gang to split up to look for clues, Fred came across some mysterious glowing footprints. He followed them through a tunnel full of Scooby-Doo-themed dioramas leading to the villain’s secret tinkering workshop. There, Fred gathered supplies to build a trap to catch the villain. Fred calls upon visitors to test the trap to make sure it is in working order. Visitors can turn a crank, push a button, and move a lever to set the trap and capture a test dummy villain. Fred also invites visitors to explore the villain’s workshop to uncover additional clues to the villain’s true identity. Here, visitors look at tools, notes, and supplies to help piece together the puzzle.

Scooby and Shaggy were a little spooked by the haunted mansion so they headed to the kitchen to hide out and make themselves a snack. On the way there, they ran straight into the ghost! Families are invited to participate in an iconic Scooby-Doo chase sequence through a Kinect-based interactive. Visitors match their body outline to shapes Scooby forms as he busts through mansion walls to escape the ghost. After successfully outrunning the ghost, families Scooby-Doo and Shaggy the duo in the kitchen to celebrate and prepare some well-deserved snacks! Families with preschool-aged children are especially drawn to this lighthearted area of the haunted mansion where they can use their imagination for some pretend play. Older audience will enjoy a light sequence interactive where they can compete to build the largest sandwich for Scooby. Also in the kitchen area, visitors discover Scooby-Doo memorabilia, such as Scooby-Doo lunch boxes, interwoven in the display, which sparks conversations between generations.

Visitors close the case of the jewel-thieving ghost at a photo op with the entire Mystery Inc. gang in celebration of catching and unmasking the villain. Visitors also have the option to pose as the villain.

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Why do you think adults still gravitate to the Scooby-Doo franchise?

Scooby-Doo™ has been continuously on the air for more than 50 years! Not only do adults have great memories of the Mystery Inc. gang from their youth, but it is also a relatable topic for their kids. In the exhibit, adults can share their memories of Scooby with the younger generation while making new memories together.

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What surprised you as you put together the exhibit?

Honestly, the museum staff’s reaction to producing the exhibition. In 16 years at the museum, I have never seen staff so excited and eager to work on a project. It reaffirms that the mysteries of Scooby-Doo have delivered and continue to deliver laughter, thrills, and spooky fun that make supernatural sleuthing enjoyable for fans across multiple generations.

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What do you hope visitors take away from their experience?

There are three main things that I hope visitors take away from this exhibit.

1) Teamwork: Realizing that, in combining our unique talents and skills along with those of our friends and teammates, we have the ability to overcome our fears and biggest challenges.

2) Memories: The meddling kids, mysteries, monsters, and munchies of Scooby-Doo have captivated generations of kids and adults. In the exhibit, we hope that some of the memorabilia on display sparks conversations about personal memories and favorite Scooby moments while creating new ones together that will last a lifetime.

3) Have fun! The mysteries of Scooby-Doo have delivered laughter, thrills, and spooky fun for over 50 decades and we hope visitors are able to immerse themselves in the exhibit environment and storyline for a similar experience.

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The SCOOBY-DOO!™ Mansion Mayhem exhibit runs from June 4, 2022 to January 22, 2023. Learn more about the exhibit on the museum’s website.