Scavenger Hunt at the MFA Brings Sexy Back on Valentine’s Day

By Stephanie Simon
BU News Service

“I was looking for something quirky to do,” said Joanna Kavalaris at the Museum of Fine Arts on Valentines Day.  “And what’s more fun than naked art?”

Kavalaris, who is seven months pregnant, decided to surprise her husband of two years, George, by going to The Naked at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt last Friday evening.

The scavenger hunts, held at museums in major cities across the country, tasks the participants with finding the risqué art and tasteful nudes.

Shannon Skilling, senior master of ceremonies for the company that hosts the hunts, directed the night.

“It really is a whirl wind tour,” said Skilling as she walked around the museum.  “We try to touch base in every area.  Get you into places you might not have known existed.”

Sixteen couples gathered for the competition.  Each couple was given a starting point in the museum and had to work their way through a series of 28 questions for an unknown prize.

Naked scavenger hunt at the MFA. (Stephanie Simon/BUNS)
Naked scavenger hunt at the MFA. (Stephanie Simon/BUNS)

“You have a team answer sheet,” Skilling said to the competitors before sending them out. “You have a list of clues.  Use strategy.  Maybe skip a question if you see another couple following you.  Don’t go over the two-hour limit or points will be deducted.  Pick a team name–bonus points for a good one.  You don’t have time to linger, answer as many questions correctly as you can.  Meet back at the green tree by the New American Café. Questions? Go.”

The teams scattered.

Trevor Masse, 26, and Anna Williams, 28, were team “Smarty Arties.” They’ve been together for ten years. Their hunt started in the Art of Europe wing.

With map in tow they moved at a jaunt as the clues guided them from the marble floors of Europe to the creaky wooden one’s of the Contemporary wing. Their strategy was to enter knowing the clue and then split up in the room to search for the artwork.

As the Smarty Arties passed through the halls, music from the piano and upright bass was being played in Bravo, the MFA restaurant.  The couple hardly noticed because they were busy discussing the next clues. A security guard stopped them as they entered the gallery in search of a Warhol piece, demanding to know why people were moving so fast.

Masse and Williams explained.  Quickly they found Warhol and trudged onward in search of the answer to their next question. They headed to the Art of Africa wing. They softened their steps and brought their voices to a whisper, hoping not to be approached by another irritated guard.

“Sweetie, I think I found it,” Williams said.

“What is that ‘Panel from a Box,’” asked Masse looking at a carved treasure chest in the glass case.

“Yes, we’re doing good,” she said as Masse wrote down an answer.

While the Smarty Arties continued their quest, Dean Ho, 28, and his wife of seven months Megan Ho, 30, used a slower strategy more of a walk than a jaunt. Their team name was “Naked Ho’s.”

“This was a Valentine’s surprise from Dean.  He just told me not to wear heels,” said Ho as she patted her husband’s shoulders.

They both stared at the “Watson and the Shark” painting in the America’s wing, trying to solve a clue.  They picked up the pace however when they realized only a half hour was left, Dean still took the time to stop and open doors for his wife and others.

Naked scavenger hunt at the MFA. (Stephanie Simon/BUNS)
Naked scavenger hunt at the MFA. (Stephanie Simon/BUNS)

Skilling waited for groups to return back by the New American Café. Clinking silverware and plates echoed in the glass encased courtyard.

The Kavalaris’ came back smiling and said they had to move a little slowly because of the “plus one.”  Skilling revealed rankings after the groups returned.

The Naked Ho’s tied for fourth with 20 points.  They were pleased because this was their first time at the MFA, and the Smarty Arties won with 25 points.  A free Watson Adventure Scavenger Hunt was their loot.

“The answers were not impossible, but still challenging.   A good way to spend Valentine’s Day,” said Williams.

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