The Hart museum offered a unique twist on their educational experience Saturday by inviting friends and families out to the mansion for a historical scavenger hunt.
Using the words of William S. Hart himself as the clues for the hunt, people were invited to scour the historical landmark in search of the paintings listed on the clue sheet they were given.
In addition to being able to walk the home freely, kids and parents were invited to make their own watercolor paintings as well as make their own beeswax sculptures. According to Margi Bertram, an administrator at the museum, Charlie Russel — an artist friend of Hart’s whose work now hangs in the famous movie star’s home — used to use the beeswax to create sculptures or as a plaything to occupy his time while he went about he daily routine.
“All of these are illustrations for some of the books that Hart wrote, so we’re talking about what this field of illustration is,” said Bertram. “We’re hoping that they can find (the paintings) in the house.”
“And we want people to experience what Charlie Russell did and this is how he would sculpt,” said Bertram. “Russell did oils, watercolors as well as bronzes, and so this is also an opportunity to talk about some of the techniques that Russell and other watercolor artists would use.”
Bertram said that in addition to the art being free form, so was the way in which people could walk through the various rooms in the home during the open house. Generally, every third Saturday of the month, the museum allows people to walk around, room to room, and ask questions if they want to to the experts standing by as opposed to the traditional tour guided format.
“It’s more visitor-orientated because the visitor has some control over what their experience is going to be like.
In addition to people tracking down each painting and gazing at the other pieces of art within the home, the Hart mansion was decorated in a holiday theme, with Christmas decorations and a tree lighting up the home.
“We are in town visiting family for Christmas vacation, and they thought it would be a nice thing to do and to come out, take a walk and check out the bison,” said Nicole Marshall, whose family was visiting Santa Clarita from their home state of Hawaii. “And they just happened to be having the open house and we thought it we’d come in and check it out.”
Marshall’s two sons, Anthony and Jack, both said they were enjoying their time seeing the various aspects of William S. Hart’s life, from the artistry, to the cowboy themed aspects to the house and the various Cowboy weaponry that was on display.
When asked if he was happy to have come to the museum to do the scavenger hunt, Anthony said, “Yes!’