Mysteries at the Museum


Sherri Krazl, Marketing/Communications

On a cold day in December, a film crew doing work for the Travel Channel arrived at the Miami University Art Museum to shoot a segment for one of the channel’s signature shows, Mysteries at the Museum.

The series, for those who haven’t watched it, takes artifacts and works in museum collections and delves deep into some significant surprise or mystery about the story behind the piece.

The featured work in this particular segment was James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic World War I poster of Uncle Sam. The story the segment reveals is the origins of the real Uncle Sam from 100 years earlier. The show, close to an hour in length, tells 3-4 such stories per episode. The crew spent an entire day in Oxford filming hours of footage which was then sent to the studio for editing. During planning conversations, I learned from the shoot coordinator that our segment would end up being around six minutes. They would establish our location in Oxford and our building, briefly talk about the Art Museum, highlight a few additional significant pieces, zoom in on pieces of the featured work, interview Curator of Exhibitions, Jason E. Shaiman, as the subject matter expert, and lastly reveal the whole piece. Once edited, the piece also featured the shows’ narrator/host, additional footage to tell the story and his voice over pieces of the footage.

It took a great team effort with the majority of the museum’s staff involved in some aspect of making the shoot a success, from completing legal agreements, identifying the additional featured pieces, to hanging the featured piece on the wall and assisting the crew to attain perfect lighting.

The publicity value of the feature on Mysteries at the Museum was well over $400,000. “We were thrilled with the whole experience,” Director Bob Wicks said, “and pleased that the segment aired during our spring exhibition commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the United States’ entrance into WWI.”

The segment is available for viewing online for a small fee. If you wish to see it at the museum, contact me at to schedule.