The word “museum” comes from the Greek word “mouseion” – a place dedicated to the Muses, who were themselves the divine spirits of the arts. This ancient definition holds true today, as museums remain buildings devoted to exhibiting objects and displays of importance. What is on display depends on the museum. The art museum – filled with paintings, drawings, and sculptures of famous artists – remains the most popular conception, but museums exist devoted to all kinds of topics: science, history, sports and hobbies, and so on. The focus and scope of a museum determines most of its characteristics. For example, a regional museum dedicated to the history of coal mining in the area would probably be a modest building, possibly with a coal car in the center, and other artifacts or pictorials hanging loose on walls. A national art museum, on the other hand, might be a huge, impressive structure with towering statues, housing the country’s most valuable objects in phenomenal security. Museums can take the form of refurbished warehouses, rededicated palaces, or planned architectural marvels.

A museum has the delicate task of balancing the need to keep items open and available for viewing by all, while keeping them protected from unscrupulous or clumsy individuals. Most museums have a strict “hands-off’ policy, and violating it risks the wrath of alarms and security guards (although many science museums encourage touching and manipulating exhibits). Many museums, especially those devoted to art, have more pieces than they can comfortably display at one time; overstock items are kept in back areas of the museum or in warehouses (see the “Warehouse” entry). Museums often have libraries dedicated to their subjects, especially those devoted to a regional or targeted interest. In fact, often museums are the only source of certain kinds of information, and a small-town curator may find herself in possession of unique knowledge she scarcely knows the value of.

The museum remains, by and large, a place of learning and knowledge. As such, browsing a museum can provide bonuses to scholar rolls, as can perusing its library or interviewing the curator. Museums generally charge for entry (Very Easy Funds roll), but some set aside certain hours or days for free admittance (such as the last half-hour of each day, or an annual Museum Appreciation Day).

Security remains the highest priority for most museums, and those that house anything of value will generally have at least a security system, and probably also security guards. Most museums have systems that would require a Very Difficult security check to bypass, although poorer museums might only require a Moderate check (or less) … and stealing the Mona Lisa would require a Legendary feat, at least! Although they usually carry objects of great value, local budget cuts often hurt museums disproportionately, and underattended locations can find themselves in constant danger of closing.

Museums exist virtually unchanged for any D6 Adventure era, although the trend toward smaller regional museums is fairly recent (within the past 50 years or so). To simulate a smaller museum with the provided map, just discard the second floor and perhaps replace the dining area with more displays.

Don’t Miss …

The Gemini Foundation had a unique v1S1on for its city’s educational and spiritual fulfillment. Instead of having one museum – which narrows its focus too greatly or else splits its exhibits between art and science – why not have two museurns, separate but linked? This philosophy guided the creation of the Gemini Museums in 1969, two buildings that have the same layout and architec- ture but different exhibits. The Castor Museum focuses on the sciences (both natural and hard), while the Pollux Museum is devoted co all kinds of art. The two museums are located about half a mile apart and structured so that it’s possible to see the other from the top floor windows.

Visitors to both museums would first notice the central display area. Castor gives this area over to a complete tyrannosaurus rex display, while the same spot in the Pollux building has a piece entitled “Child’s Play/Adult Nightmare,” where a dinosaur- like simulacrum composed of gigantic steel girders ears a Human-shaped victim made our of wire.

The chambers are named the same for both museums, so one can speak of being in the “Pollux Zenith Display” or “Castor Classics Chamber.” This adds to the confusion, which was part of the Gemini Foundation’s purpose; it believes the gulf between science and art is not as great as people believe, and making the two buildings so closely linked helps to build an association between the fields.

Although the museums rotate their exhibits at least quarterly, they try to keep certain themes in the exhibit halls.

The Classics Chamber is devoted to overviews of the museums’ disciplines; in Pollux, this means an overview of art, complete wid1 Grecian samples, Impressionistic versus Realistic displays, and so on. At Castor, this encompasses a history of rhe sciences, up to Galileo. Since this room is the last one visitors might see before leaving the museum, the curators try to keep out anything too controversial here.

The New Voices Gallery is focused to the latest findings or developments. In Pollux, this generally means up-and-coming artists and local talent. In Castor, it means the absolute latest developments in me sciences (at least, those that would have an interesting display and spark public imagination).

The Longwall Room is usually devoted to oversized or long exhibits. For example, the Pollux recently displayed two original “splatter paintings” that took up both walls entirely; the Castor, meanwhile, had an exhibit of electron microscope magnifications of various atoms, blowing up the results to give a better idea of the beauty and complexity of matter’s building blocks.

The Blue Chamber is so-named because its walls, floor, and ceiling are painted entirely sky blue. The Pollux uses this room primarily to display sculptures in an “open” environment; the results often feel like the exhibits are floating in space. Its present exhibit is a comparison of the Human head, from Grecian to modern depictions. The Castor uses this room mostly for intellectual or psychological demonstrations; its current theme is optical illusions.

The Leonardo Annex is devoted to the same artist in both museums. The Pollux focuses on Leonardo Da Vinci’s artistic achievements, while the Castor concentrates on his intellectual and scientific insights. Both annexes contain original Da Vinci pieces, and as such are even more heavily protected and guarded (Legendary security check to steal or deface the art).

Visiting Exhibits are, logically, devoted to those pieces that are on loan from other museums. Security here is tight, and it would take Heroic efforts to tamper or steal anything. At present the Pollux has three Monet and two Renoir paintings on loan, while the Castor has several original journals of Copernicus. From the Castor Visiting Exhibit room it’s possible to see into the Zenith Display and Illumination Wing South of the Pollux.

The Mittelhauser Room is named after a wealthy contributor, and it contains items donated by patrons over the years. This room is the one most likely to have items that defy classification; the Pollux presently has some abstract fourteenth-century carvings that seem made out of an unknown kind of wood, while the Castor has a series of large metal sheets inscribed with intriguing but untranslatable runes or icons.

Serenity East and Serenity West are linked rooms, and their exhibits usually spill across both rooms. The purpose of those rooms is to provide “popular” exhibits or art. The Pollux’s Serenity Rooms are currently devoted to pop art, while the Castor has an exhibit entitled “10 Inventions that Changed the World.”

The Zenith Display is the only room in both museums to make heavy use of natural light. As one of the most stunning rooms in the museum, the Zenith Display’s exhibits tend toward the flashy instead of instructive. Presently, the Pollux has a collection of modern blown glass, while the Castor has a giant prism and information about optics. The windows of the Zenith Display provide a theoretical chink in the museum’s defenses (Moderate security check to break in), if someone could figure out how to get to the second floor window.

Illumination Wing North and Illumination Wing South, like the Serenity rooms, are linked. However, while Serenity strives toward popular exhibits, the Illumination Wing attempts to be more confrontational and challenging. The Pollux currently shows mathematical representations and methods of artwork (including an aural display of Igor Stravinsky’s serialist music), while the Castor has a presentation on “The Search for God,” detailing the conflicts and parallels of science, philosophy, and religion.

The Hall of Accomplishments is basically a retread of the Classics Chamber, only with more room to go in depth. If the Classic Chamber provides an appetizer or dessert, the Timeline is the main course. Given its open nature, pieces of extreme value are seldom kept here; instead, copies and representations of pieces are displayed.

The remaining areas are fairly mundane. The Audio-Visual Room has supplemental material about one of the museum’s exhibits, the offices house the security team or curator, and the Gift Shop offers somewhat expensive souvenirs (Very Easy to Moderate; +l to Funds difficulties). Unlike many museums, the Gemini museums have a food court, giving patrons an on-site location to chat about what they just saw.

The museums are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., and on Sunday from 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. The remainder of the time the museums remain tightly secured, requiring a Very Difficult security check to get in and additional checks to get to each room (unless otherwise noted). The Pollux’s curator is Dr. Travis Starlin, an affable 57-year-old with an art history doctorate and a love of teaching. The Castor is run by Dr. Sheila Gerber, a 68-year-old physicist whose uncooperative nature is almost legendary; while Dr. Starlin is a believer in the Gemini concept, Dr. Gerber expresses open contempt at the idea and sees the museums as being in direct competition. What affect this animosity will have is unknown.

Things to See

+ Paintings, with and without frames

+ Sculptures of metal, clay, plastic, wood, fabric, glass, or some combination

+ Photographs, matted or framed

+ Antique or ancient household goods, weapons, and memorabilia

+ Exhibits of how things work {a car engine, waterway locks, optics, etc.)

+ Glass display cases on pedestals

+ Wooden or plastic benches

+ Green tropical plants, a meter or more tall, fake or real, in heavy black pots

+ Plaques or small posters providing information about displays

People to Meet

Most museum employees have between 1D and 2D in the physical attributes and between 2D and 3D in mental attributes (especially Knowledge). Those who manipulate exhibits tend to have better than average Physique scores and pips in lifting. Curators tend to have at lease +2D in scholar and +1D in forgery, although higher scores are possible and encouraged.

Museum Curator: Reflexes 1D+1, Coordination 1D+1, Physique 1D+2, lifting 2D, Knowledge 3D, business 3D+1, scholar 4D, tech: computers 3D+1, Perception 3D, investigation 4D, search 4D, Presence 2D, persuasion 2D+1, willpower 2D+1. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 1D. Body Points: 8. Wound levels: 2.

Things to Do

+ The players’ characters manage to thwart a museum theft of a fake exhibit. They learn the thief probably knew it was a imitation … so why did he steal it? Is there some information or item hidden in the fake artifact?

+ One of the items in the museum actually serves as an interdimensional portal to Someplace Else, and the players’ characters are on hand as the first beings beam across. Can they find a way to turn the tide against these combative individuals, while protecting priceless exhibits from the crossfire?

D6 Adventure Locations (WEG 51016e), © 2004 Purgatory Publishing Inc.
This page is Open Game Content.