Feb 2, 2013
Treasure hunt in a museum? And one of my favourite museums to boot? Yes, please!
Let me cue you in with some background about the hunt. Treasure Hunt at the Louvre aka THATLou is the brainchild of Daisy de Plume, and it is a wonderful initiative which combines her entrepreneurial skills and her love of good arts. At THATLou, participants disperse across the many wings and floors of the Louvre in search of artworks which Daisy has challenged the groups to find. The group which earns the most point (by finding the pieces and/or answer the bonus questions) will be crowned winner of the treasure hunt!
When Daisy announced bringing the hunt over to the Musée d’Orsay, nicknamed THATd’Or, as one of the events hosted by the AFMO’s Avant Garde, I knew I had to try to make it this time. Possible obstacle? It was slated for Thursday… uh-oh, it’s a work day!
I was delighted when Daisy tweeted back “THATd’Or @ 19h45” – perfect!
We started and ended THATd’Or where this statue of Bartholdi’s Liberty Enlightening the World is found. Previously placed in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Liberty was removed for restoration (courtesy of AFMO) following vandalism as well as years of exposure to the elements. I was all pleased and happy last year when I saw the statue back again in the garden and only recently I found out that that is not the case. Now, this one here, is the real deal; the one in the garden, replica.
Anyway, I digress.
The concept is pretty simple and remains similar to those of THATLou. We (1) play as a team, usually of 3-4 people – I was partnered with Grace and Nicky, (2) must stay together and no more than 3m apart from each other, (3) must not run in the museum, and (4) cannot obtain external help, be it searching for information on our smartphones or asking the museum staff, guides etc. And oh, no photography, except in designated spots. This last point is the main difference between THATLou and THATd’Or – “proof” of hunt in THATLou means photographing the team in front of the found treasure.
(And since I’m terrible at following the rules sometimes, you get to see a bit more of the interior of the museum. Mind, these photos were not taken during THATd’Or – I was too busy scanning the rooms for pieces we were supposed to find!)
We were each handed out a booklet for our treasure hunt, as well as a map of the museum. The booklet contained 24 pieces of paintings, sculptures and objects which we must try to find for a total game points of 1500. As we cannot photograph ourselves in front of the works, we were to read the information plates adjacent for either name of patron who donated the pieces, or the dates they were acquired. There was also bonus of 500 points to be had, making up the grand total of 2000 points.
It was tough to quell the competitive spirit (this is a game with winning team afterall!) and even harder to fight the urge to run! Something else not helping – my habit of walking at a fairly brisk pace. I had to rein things in a little, although I can’t be sure if my teammates would agree that I “succeeded”. ;)
Between the three main/full floors and four sub-staircase wings, there were a lot of surface to cover in search of the treasures. We managed to find 18/24 pieces within allocated time, lived in agony knowing a couple of pieces were within rooms that had been closed off by the time we got there (as the museum prepared to close for the day), and were completely puzzled at our inability to spot one of the biggest pieces of the museum, hidden behind a faux-wall that only the keenest would have spotted.
As for the bonus questions, we scored a handful of them but far less than we could have. I had semi-forgotten that careful reading of the decription carefully provided by Daisy beneath the picture of each treasure formed an important part of the winning strategy. D’oh! Rookie mistake which shall not be repeated in future treasure hunts!
Some of the bonus points came from having the entire team posing in accordance to figures of certain sculptures and paintings in designated photography area, in front of one of the few d’Orsay clocks. These were fun to pose for; we felt a little silly when enlisting innocent bystanders to take the shots and we giggled our way through.
Having fast-walked our way up and down the museum, front to back, left to right, we decided we would check-in just a couple of minutes ahead of finishing time. We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves first team back at the meeting point and mentally checked-out, although in hindsight we should have used this time to re-read our pieces descriptions for additional bonus points?
We adjourned to Le Petit Jacob, a quaint organic restaurant and wine bar, a mere 10 minutes walk from the museum. There, we tallied up our points and the winning team came in roaring at 1600/2000 points! In the spirit of Motion and Movement (the theme of this edition of THATd’Or) they won tickets to the Easter Hunt of THATLou, while the group with the most creative name (THATd’Or Treasure Whores) earned themselves a pink wooden train!
Our score of 1300 earned us a spot in middle of the league table, which was a solid effort in my opinion. Over a glass of wine, I chatted with my teammates as well as other participants whom we’ve meet during the event. It was all good and jolly and clearly, everyone had had a ball!
I also got to meet and talk to Daisy in person, after weeks of (s)talking over Twitter. She’s warm and friendly, and clearly passionate about creating and cultivating awareness in arts! She has done an amazing job creating THATd’Or! Her collaboration with Kristina of AFMO has been a fruitful one and I hope there will be more THATd’Or to come in the future! In the mean time, looks like I’ll have to head over to the other side of the river for more treasure hunt fun.
Last but not least, it bears repeating that Musée d’Orsay is an amazing museum. Despite housing only pieces that were mainly produced between mid-1800 to early-1900, there are still many variation and evolution of work within this period to appreciate and to enjoy. Not only that, the architecture of the building itself is stunning. Who would have thought, a former train station would today be in such glorious state!
Update 04/02/2013: Daisy has written up a round-up of THATd’Or too!