Sherlock Holmes brings out families, community to Stark House

Published 6:50 am Monday, June 19, 2023

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In line with its new operating model, The W.H. Stark House welcomed guests to enjoy special programming earlier this month.

Attendees who pre-registered for the W.H. Stark House Summer Reading festival enjoyed a costume-optional program, where children and families were invited to complete a detective notebook and solve a mystery.

The event, The W.H. Stark House: Miriam presents The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was an opportunity for children ages 0-18 to visit 11 activity stations hosted by the W.H. Stark House, the Stark Museum of Art, the Orange Public Library, The Lutcher Theatre, the Orange Fire Department, The Orange Police Department and  Shangri La Gardens.

Each station contained a clue that led families closer to solving the mystery.

The activity stations were staffed by Stark Cultural Venues staff and community volunteers.

West Orange Stark High school theater arts teacher Mason Franco brought 10 students, some who dressed for the occasion,

“We’re honored that the Stark Foundation asked us to partner with them for a third year in a row,” Franco said. “The students love being able to perform in the community and be a part of something that encourages education and the arts. The theme was Sherlock Holmes, and the students had a great time acting in character. They assisted the younger kids in crafts, a murder mystery activity and interactive games.”

Andrew Klumpp brought his son to the festival.

His son appreciated the addition of the “Dancing Men Alphabet” code to the morning’s activities.

“We do Texas Renaissance Festival, all of it,” Klumpp said. “We love Sherlock Holmes’ mysteries, and we visit a lot of historical sites. It’s good for my son to learn and it’s awesome that the house does things like this. Sometimes, it’s hard to teach on your own, so to be able to take them to events like this and they embrace it and see neat things about it.”

Klumpp heard about the festival from his wife and mother-in-law. Wife Laura was dressed for the occasion.

“We’re having a great time,” she said at the event. “These are the things that we’ll remember. We’re hoping this is something that, as an adult, he’ll carry with him. I did things like this a lot as a child, and I wanted to share that, have a family moment.”

The Stark Foundation donated more than 100 books during the event, and each child received an excerpt from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, along an instruction guide and crafts detailing how they can state a play at home with friends.

The next opportunity to visit the W.H. Stark House is Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during First Floor Friday’s.

Guests who reserve a complimentary timed ticket take a self-guided tour of both the first floor of the Carriage House and the second floor, where the cut glass exhibition, Brilliant, is on view.

The W.H. Stark House is located in Orange at 610 Main Avenue and may be reached at 409-883-0871.

— Written by Shari Hardin