T-shirts are also already available!
About Mystery Museum
Mystery Museum is a home-grown VBS first put together in 2017 and updated in 2020 by Dan Jacob. The learning guide has been adapted to a digital format for at-home use by families and is being offered for free at this site. That effort has been made possible by Peace Lutheran Church in Beavercreak, OH. Many people at Peace contributed to this site including the Dowlens, Fixs, Hillards, Hovland/Mtuis, McQuades, and Pochets. We have all also been gifted by the voice-acting talents of Bishop Suzanne Dillahunt, Carol Mitchell, Clara, Maia Grandy, and Rachel Kurtz. Dan would like to thank the Christian Ed. Board of Peace and Gary Pecuch of the Southern Ohio Synod for putting a fire under him to make this site a reality. The Mystery Museum is being hosted on Dan's online artist's portfolio called Banner Blue.
Please feel free to alter the learning guide to fit your needs. The resources and activities have been divided across five themed days but you could stretch them out over the whole summer, if you like! Everything may be experienced by families right in their own homes. At the mystery museum, kids will encounter a place of discovery and learning where mysteries lurk around every corner but where their gifts and talents can make the difference. Here is a an Overview and all the Supply Lists.
Overarching Learning Question:
“Blessed are Who?”
From Matthew 5:1-15
This learning guide is based around a simple idea, that VBS should be about service to our neighbors based in Jesus' vision of the Kingdom of God -- something we like to call Vision Based Serving. Because of that, each day centers around a community problem and a Bible story that helps to inspire solutions. There are even service learning projects the kids can lead right at home. The learning guide also includes daily art and science projects, games, music with motions, and a whodunnit episode.
Look out for these icons throughout the guide:
Overarching Learning Lesson:
Your light shines before and for others,
so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
From Matthew 5:16
Mystery Museum Overview
A hospitality plan for your home.
Movie trailers for forgotten heroes.
Getting into gardening.
Collecting clothes and toys for others.
Collecting books for kids in need.
A priceless portrait has gone missing at the museum.
Shurkey Holmes is on the case! The world's greatest detective is sure to solve the case.
The mystery only deepens with the discovery of strange new paintings.
Shurkey goes undercover to find some more clues.
Shurkey uncovers the culprit in an surprising conclusion.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Hall of Inventions
Medieval Europe Encounter
Ancient China Area
Ancient Egypt Experience
Problem to Solve
Key Bible Character
This is what a day at the Mystery Museum could look like:
Early Morning - Story and Service
Late Morning - Games
Early Afternoon - Art
Late Afternoon - Science
Early Evening - Whodunnit?
You could cover every activity for each character in one day, and cover all the characters in under a week.
Please note, while activities during VBS at church may only take about 20 minutes, that timeframe has been made possible by lots of prep work. Preparing for and completing an art, science, or service project at home will require pre-planning and likely at least an hour of your time for each activity.
This is what several weeks at the Mystery Museum could look like:
Week One - Esther
Week Two - Mary
Week Three - Deborah
Week Four - Tabitha
Week Five - Miriam
You could spread the activities for each character over a week, and cover all of the characters in just over a month.
If you're looking for ways, as a church, to incorporate Mystery Museum into worship, the special character prayers could easily find a place in your service. Also feel free to use any of the graphics in your bulletin or projections.
Mystery Museum Story and Service
The Story/Service section also has a special deeper dive for service learning.
Click or tap the icon for a complete downloadable pdf of the story guide. The guide includes a daily guiding question, learning objectives, supplies list, an activity introducing kids to the Bible story, a link to the Bible character video, instructions for a service learning project to reinforce the story, as well as a final lesson reflection.
Use the menu above to navigate to a specific day's Story and Service section which includes a demonstration video and the that day's story/service pdf. You can view the character videos on each day's page or on the video page.
Mystery Museum Art
Click or tap the icon for a complete downloadable pdf of the art guide. The guide includes a daily learning objective, a supplies list, art project instructions with pictures, and questions to ask the kids while you're creating together.
Use the menu above to navigate to a specific day's Art section which includes the a demonstration video and the that day's art pdf.
Mystery Museum Science
Click or tap the icon for a complete downloadable pdf of the science guide. The guide includes a daily guiding question, learning objectives, a supplies list, at least two science experiments for each day including instructions, and questions to ask the kids while you're exploring together.
Use the menu above to navigate to a specific day's Science section which includes the a demonstration video and the that day's science pdf.
Mystery Museum Games
Click or tap the icon for a complete downloadable pdf of the game guide. The guide includes a daily learning objective, a supplies list, a new game with instructions, a classic tag game,
and questions to ask the kids while you're playing together, plus a lesson reflection. Map tiles for day four are here.
Use the menu above to navigate to a specific day's Games section which includes the a demonstration video and the that day's games pdf.
Mystery Museum Music
Click or tap the icon for a downloadable preview of the complete music guide. The guide includes a daily reflection as well as a link to the songs.
Each day's song comes to you from the Saddleback Kids youtube page. The song is presented with easy-to-learn motions. Seven songs have been selected to go with the mystery museum, one relating to the beatitude and Bible character for each of the five days as well as a theme song and bonus song. You can also view the songs on the music page.
Mystery Museum Whodunnits?
A whodunnit is a mystery story that you can solve with the characters as you read along. At the mystery museum, the priceless portraits of Esther, Mary, Deborah, Tabitha, and Miriam are disappearing one-by-one. Lucky for us, the world's greatest detective, Shurkey Holmes, happened to be in town! Join Shurkey, the curator, and Miss Purple in solving The Case of the Vanishing Portraits.
About the Author
Dan gathered all of the VBS materials together and wrote the learning guides as well as the whodunnits. He also created the graphics, edited the videos, and built this website. Dan is a Deacon of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Dan currently serves in children, youth, and campus ministries at Wittenberg University, Peace Lutheran Church in Beavercreek, OH, and Christ Lutheran in Old North Dayton. Dan's greatest passions are serving kids and advocating for justice in fulfilling God's promised kingdom. Dan recently started Banner Blue, an online showcase for creative faith expressions and resources.