“Quick,” my kids shouted, “we need to twirl like flying dervishes!” The three of them proceeded to twirl around madly in front of an Akali Turban, once used by the Akali Sikhs against their enemies.
Elsewhere in the enormous halls of the the V&A museum the kids had already posed like Cheshire Cats from Alice in Wonderland, pretended to be pious altar boys and walked across the Fashion Gallery like rag dolls.
Nick and I were not exempt either, striking a pose to mimic the embroidery on the back of an elegant evening coat by fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
As much as we love exploring museums, we don’t often recreate famous paintings or pose like statues. But this was no ordinary trip to the V&A, we were on a brilliant museum treasure hunt in London with THATMuse.
Disclosure: We were gifted tickets for the treasure hunt for the purpose of this review. For more information please see my disclosure policy.
THATMuse stands for Treasure Hunt at the Museum and was started by American Daisy de Plume. The idea behind the hunts are to get people engaged and excited about the treasure – the art on display – in some of London’s most well-known museums.
Teams of 2 to 4 people (although some teams are bigger) have to find as many treasures as possible within a given amount of time taking photos along the way.
Given that you only have between 90 minutes and two hours to complete the treasure hunt, it’s unlikely that you’ll find everything on your hunt list but that is done on purpose, Daisy wants to inspire those taking part to go back to the museums and explore some more
Treasure Hunt at the Museum
THATMuse originally started in Paris with treasure hunts run at the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. They have since expanded to this side of the Channel and now have more than 25 themed hunts across the V&A, Natural History Museum and British Museum.
Some hunts are for adults and others are more family-friendly. When it comes to the treasure hunts for kids, Daisy’s two young sons help create the silly bonus questions.
[author] [author_info]Don’t forget to join our London with Kids Facebook group for more ideas on things to do in the city. [/author_info] [/author]
We had previously taken part in a Fun & Games Treasure Hunt at The British Museum and we loved it – and won!
Our win was largely down to the fact that we were happy to be as silly as necessary in order to gain bonus points. And that’s the real fun of these treasure hunts; you don’t simply solve the clue, you’re encouraged to win bonus points for pretending to savaged by a tiger or strutting your best catwalk walk (and yes, twirling like flying dervishes!).
At the British Museum some of our winning points were earned by galloping like a Tang dynasty horse around the cafeteria.
This time, with some experience under our belt, we knew how to best tackle the fashion treasure hunt. Having been given our THATMuse Mission and our team name (we were lucky team Coco Chanel) we started strategising.
Before setting off around the museum we carefully plotted where each treasure was located on the museum map and then headed off. We started on the basement floor quickly finding the bust of Josephine Bonaparte, a “major shopaholic and fashionista” and the Devonshire Hunting Tapestry, depicting nobles in elaborate court dress.
Each time you arrive at a treasure your mission notes tell you a brief history of each item and how many extra points you can earn. You earn 20 points for every treasure found but can earn up to 50 bonus points too.
The witty and cryptic clues in the hunt notes are one of the things that I love best about THATMuse. When talking about the Akali Turban for example, the caption says that this unique hat “gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘fashion victim’ owing to the hat’s double life as a deadly weapon (it hides several sharp steel weapons).
For kids in particular, it’s a great way to bring history to life.
It was ground zero where we found most of the treasures. From a Lady’s Riding Jacket dating back to the 1790s and a Pandora Doll once used to display the latest fashion designs to a kimono used for Kabuki theatre performances in Japan.
By now, however, we were starting to run out of time. When we realised we could win an extra 100 bonus points for drawing our own fashion design on the back of our mission pack, we hurried back to HQ for some frantic scribbling.
There were nine teams participating in this hunt and we felt confident that our strategic planning had paid off. In the end, we came second – and were delighted with our runner-up prizes of crowns!
What age can you take part in a THATMuse Treasure Hunt?
THATMuse welcomes kids of all ages. As with most museums, however, it depends entirely on the child.
What do you need to take part in a THATMuse treasure hunt?
All you need is a fully-charged mobile phone or camera to document the treasures found as well as photos and videos for those all-important bonus points
Comfy shoes are a must as you will walk a lot.
A sense of adventure, curiosity and a friendly competitive spirit!
THATMuse Public vs Private Treasure Hunts
THATMuse run both public and private treasure hunts. You can check their website for dates of public hunts. Similarly, if you want to organise a larger group for a birthday party for example, then you can do that through their site as well. It’s also a great team building activity and would work well for a corporate event.