Let Crossword Puzzles Serve as Your Museum’s Tour Guide
Museums offer all sorts of wonderful guides to patrons that give in-depth information about the exhibits and what they contain. In addition to docents and audio guides, many museums offer pamphlets, or even online guides. Sometimes there’s so much information to take in that visitors have a hard time remembering everything they saw. Making a crossword focused on what’s available in your museum will make your museum stand out.
Making Crosswords For the Pieces in Your Museum’s Collection
There are endless possibilities for clues and answers, and you’ll know best what to highlight in your museum. The puzzle below provides an example of what a crossword puzzle might look like for a Pacific Islander museum collection.
You already know a lot about the work in your museum’s collection, but what clues and answers would be interesting and helpful to visitors?
Start with your existing knowledge, both of the exhibits and how your patrons interact with them. What exhibits are the most popular? What exhibits do people gloss over that you would like to highlight? Ask these kinds of questions for each section of your museum, then make clues and answers to showcase important pieces.
The crossword below provides a sample of what a crossword might look like for an “Ancient Indian Painting” exhibit.
Once you have your clues and answers for a crossword, it’s easy enough to make it with Crossword Hobbyist. Simply enter your clues and answers into the “Auto-Arrange” section in the left-hand sidebar. Then the crossword puzzle maker will arrange the puzzle for you once you click “Arrange!” The video below will help you with the actual construction.
Adding Crosswords to Your Museum’s Exhibits
Now you’ve made this wonderful crossword puzzle for your visitors, it’s time to share it with them.
The easiest way to share your puzzle is to simply print a stack of copies of your puzzle for visitors to pick up at the information desk. Alternately, you can download a PDF of the puzzle and add it to your map, visitor guide, or other print materials you already offer.
Then, to encourage solving, label exhibits that pertain to the crossword puzzle. A simple label that says, “Check your crossword puzzle!” next to the description of a piece will encourage patrons to read the description. For example, the answer for 2-Across in the first puzzle of this article may be found with the collection on display. In this way, your crossword puzzle will offer a sort of self-guided tour to your visitors.
The crossword puzzle can also be solved right on your museum’s website, either on the home page or on pages related to an exhibit featured in the puzzle. Simply embed your puzzle with these easy instructions.
Your visitors will love solving a unique crossword during their visit to your museum. They’ll learn more, remember more, and come back for more. Consider updating your crossword periodically to add new pieces from your collection, or make more crosswords for temporary exhibits. Just make sure your art crosswords aren’t so beautiful that patrons mistake it for the actual art – or vice versa.
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.