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7.19.15: The Museum Show

Chris Ford via Flickr CC

Most high stakes crimes require skill, bravado and planning…but few stir the public imagination or require the meticulous efforts of fine art frauds. Word of Mouth goes behind the scenes of the museum world, starting with a story about the extreme lengths art forgers will travel to dupe their marks. Then we take a look at the many dangers art can face….inside the museum. And, museums use digital and forensic technology to solve complicated art mysteries. Sometimes, it’s just old fashioned detective work…we’ll talk to a costume historian and dress detective about her work here in New Hampshire. Join us for a day at the museum.

Listen to the full show. 

The Art of the Con

Anthony Amore is chief investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston, and author of The Art of the Con: the Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries in the Art World.  Amore explores the rise and fall of a great many master forgers – from the cunning to the delusional, including one who he says may be the very best of them all.

The Night of the Heist

Rick Abath was the unlucky guard on duty thatfateful night back in march of 1990, who was tricked into opening the door to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Twenty-five years after the robbery, he sat down with Storycorps to share his story with his wife, Diana. Their conversation will be archived, along with all Storycorps interviews, at the Library of Congress.

You can listen to this story again at

Docents Gone Wild

When it comes to guiding patrons and tour groups, most museums supplement their professional staff with volunteer docents, but sometimes the free help is not so helpful. Ellen Gamerman wrote about “Docents Gone Wild” for the Wall Street Journal.

3D Printing at the Smithsonian

Carolyn Thome is an Exhibits Specialist Digital Model Maker for the Smithsonian institution. She spoke to us about how 3D printing is changing museums. We first read about her work from the Atlantic and you can check out a collection of 3D printed artifacts from the Smithsonian here!

The Grey Dress

Astrida Schaeffer curated an exhibit called “Embellishments: Constructing Victorian Detail”, which is on view at the Portsmouth Athenaeum until November 6th.  The show features a number of striking dresses from the late 19th century, each with its own backstory.

Peanut Butter for Bigfoot

Producer Ari Erlbaum brought us this profile of the founder of a museum in Portland, Maine who spends his days searching for clues about creatures that might not exist. 

You can listen to this story again at

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