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March 21st, 2001
In a Classic Whodunit, Museum and Night Kitchen Present Mystery in Galleries Through New Childrens

The Philadelphia Museum of Art in partnership with Night Kitchen Media has developed a new CD-ROM that brings art alive in classic whodunit style. The Mystery Museum, an engaging interactive game for children ages 4-12, is set in an imaginary world where the portraits in the Museum's famous collection have minds of their own. Through a willing suspension of disbelief, children ages 4-12 find themselves after hours in the middle of the Museum as strange things begin to happen: One of the paintings is going around tampering with the other paintings! Aided by a museum mascot, youthful users of Mystery Museum quickly become detectives, searching the galleries for clues, interrogating portraits to find the culprit.

Danielle Rice, Senior Curator of Education at the Museum, stated: "What's really great about this game we're created is that it works on several levels. Younger kids can walk around, play the games, click on pictures, and just have fun. Older kids love solving the mystery, which involves listening, reading, and basic logical thinking. And best of all, all players become familiar with some of the Museum's most wonderful portraits!"

Meg Baird, Designer at Night Kitchen Media, added: "I really wanted to feel like things were literally happening around every corner, from random events like a bat flying by and lights switching off to the culprit popping up. Not only do kids feel they are in the middle of the action, they are opening their eyes to the world of art."

Clues come in the form of facts about the painting's subject or maker and can be accessed in the 'Detective Kit.' With this kit, children can study clues, identify a painting as a suspect, listen to a painting's story, or have fun with two other interactive games-the 'Disguise Buster' and the 'Magnifying Glass.' Matt Fisher, President of Night Kitchen Media, enjoyed working with children during the project's development phase. "I was able to work with a first grade art class during the initial stages, and it was great to see how easily they took to the game, and how familiar they became with the works featured in the piece. It was thrilling to hear kids say, 'Hey, I know that painting!'"

The Division of Education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is dedicated to helping people make meaningful connections between art and life. Its teaching philosophy recognizes that children learn best by doing, and so interactivity in all aspects of learning is a key element. The Mystery Museum is the Division's second CD-ROM about art.

Founded in 1997 and based in Philadelphia, Night Kitchen Media delivers creative Multimedia solutions for the Internet and CD-ROM. From selected individual services to full-scale Web site production, NKM partners with clients to create unique, compelling pieces to meet organization's marketing and multimedia needs. Services include: Web site design, Multimedia programming and Database integration.

The Mystery Museum is available in the Museum store ($39.95) or by calling (800) 329-4856, or via the Museum's website at www.philamuseum.org. It is compatible with both Macintosh and Windows OS.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Marketing and Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at (215) 684-7860. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100, or visit the Museum's website at www.philamuseum.org.

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