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Joseph Moore Museum brings popular 'escape room' games to campus

March 14, 2017

The popularity of “escape rooms” has arrived at Earlham College’s Joseph Moore Museum (JMM).

The Giant Beaver Breakout gives participants 60 minutes to find clues and solve a series of puzzles as part of a simulated escape from the museum, which happens to be on fire. The game’s namesake is a nod to the museum’s giant beaver skeleton, believed to be the world’s most complete.

“You have an hour to solve it, so it better be fast-paced or you’re not getting out,” says Lydia Evans ’19, one of the breakout’s designers and a member of the museum’s applied groups. “One group of museum staffers completed the tasks in the 33-minute range, but most of the groups are finishing in the 50-minute range just before time expires.”

Breakouts, which began at the end of last semester, will continue for two weekends in April and may continue through the summer. Each session can accommodate up to eight people, with a suggested minimum age of 11.

Cost is $8 per person or $7 per person for groups of three or more. Individuals or groups can register online.

“We designed the mystery with the premise that you are locked on the first floor,” Evans says. “We have a variety of puzzles designed to tap a wide range of skills. Members work together on word, math, logic-type puzzles, and physical tasks. It is designed for eight people, so groups with a smaller number tend to struggle.”

Evans says she has especially enjoyed watching the group dynamics and how people work together.

“People don’t realize how much you need to be coordinated as a group, and that’s a big part of it,” she says.

JMM Director Heather Lerner agrees.

“Breakouts are designed with the idea that by pulling people together for a fun challenge, we can get them to realize how important it is to work together and have multiple perspectives in society,” Lerner says. “The program is still in its infancy, but it is an integral part of our work to help our communities make connections across the divisions that would otherwise separate us.”

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.

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