When I first met Daisy, creator of museum treasure hunt company THATMuse, I interviewed her for my PhD thesis under the statue of Louis XIV outside the Louvre. Fast-forward to 2017 and we find ourselves sitting in London, a place we both serendipitously moved to at the same time. We were discussing life, books, and projects over coffee. It was during a casual mention of how much I love dinosaurs that the idea for a treasure hunt at the Natural History Museum came to be.
Daisy, as an entrepreneur, developed treasure hunts for tourists in Paris at the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, and now in London at the British Museum and V&A. I attended a hunt with the NYU alumni group at the British Museum and was hooked. Daisy's an art historian, and has tips about the famous works or iconic monuments in most any city in the world (as far as my travels are concerned). The idea of talking about mammoths and Iguanodons, however, seemed foreign. She knows Caravaggio and Edouard Manet, but Mary Anning and Gideon Mantel weren't on her radar. Until now.
|Treasure to find in the dinosaur hall...|
I, however, have always had a side passion for natural history, whereas my knowledge of art history stops at being able to identify a water lily as maybe Monet. From the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences to the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, I love visiting these types of museums. Dinosaurs, wooly rhinos, Neanderthals, and any other extinct creature all fascinate me. Blame my dad and his choice of bedtime reading when I was little.
It seemed like a clear opportunity to develop one of Daisy's hunts at the Natural History Museum in London, among the city's most popular attractions. And so we did, dubbing it THATNat. I spent hours gleefully browsing all of the galleries, picking the most interesting or important artefacts to highlight. The theme was dinosaurs (of course) and extinct beasts. Dodo skeletons? Check! Ancient whales. Got it! Fossilized skin. Found it!
Following the tradition of Daisy's other hunts, I also pulled together a slew of bonus questions and fun activities for players to earn more points. Participants find themselves singing Beatles songs with a human ancestor, something that most visitors won't be doing. The hunts are competitive, though, so you won't hesitate for a moment.
|The architecture alone makes a visit worth it...|
The idea is that the hunt both educates and engages, but also entertains. The results were more than promising. After our first hunt on March 25, teams were smiling and enjoying themselves, taking photos in Hintze Hall or filming videos with the extinct giant sloth. It was a success. I was so excited to pop back to London from Naples to be able to participate in our inaugural event.
Now, the THATNat hunt is officially available to the public. Marketing pitch! Take a look here at the THATMuse page to find out how you can book a spot and discover the Natural History Museum in London in a way you never thought you would. Families, larger groups, and even corporate events are available. Ask about the luxe hunt to get VIP access and skip the lengthy lines.
Take a look at our video below, created by my pal Jonny, to see the hunt in action!