PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

November 5, 2013

Museum promises mystery, mayhem

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Mysteries and train stations often go hand in hand.

Or at least, they will on Saturday, Nov. 9, when the Museum of the Gulf Coast, 700 Procter Street, hosts “Robbery at the Port Arthur Train Station,” a family-friendly event designed to help budding sleuths solve the case of the conductor’s missing pocket watch.

Stephanie Harren, education coordinator, came up with the idea when “Requiem for Steam,” an exhibit of Kansas City Southern artifacts and train photographs by David Plowden, opened at the museum. One of the artifacts — the conductor’s gold pocket watch, which he uses to monitor his train schedule — will mysteriously come up missing on Saturday.

“Everybody loves trains, and who doesn’t love a mystery?” Harren said.

Volunteers from the Port Arthur Police Department will demonstrate the processing of a crime scene by examining the train station. Afterwards, young gumshoes will have the opportunity to question various suspects, played by actors from Lamar State College-Port Arthur’s theater department. Other activities will also be available, such as fingerprinting, mug shots and learning how to write and decode secret messages.

Processing will begin at 5:30 p.m., with “Back to the Future III” being shown at 6:30 p.m., Harren said. Tickets are $4, and admission is free for children under 3 years old. The first 50 participants to pre-register by calling 409-984-6453 will receive a free detective kit, and all visitors will receive a free super sleuth souvenir.

The event will illustrate the work local police officers do, Harren said, as well as possibly nudge youngsters in the direction of a career in criminal justice.

“If this is something they’re interested in as a career, then they can get hands-on experience right here at the museum,” Harren said. “Then they can go home and ask more questions to learn what paths they need to take to further their education in that aspect.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA