Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of His Missing Sockis a choose-your-own-adventure museum experience that has been put together by the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and the WA Museum. This one-of-a-kind theatre show uses museum artefacts and audience interaction to teach kids about the ANZAC spirit and World War One.
The show is suitable for children 5 years and older and runs for 50 to 90 minutes (feel free to go at your own pace). All children must be accompanied by an adult. Children with sensory issues might find the show a little bit startling, so it is recommended if you have any concerns that you ring ahead in advance to discuss your child's needs with the staff.
Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of His Missing Sock will be at the WA Shipwrecks Museum from the 14th to the 29th of April and then at the Museum of Geraldton from the 10th to the 13th of May and will then move to the Museum of the Great Southern (Albany) in June to run from the 1st to the 4th of that month.
I went down to the WA Shipwrecks Museum on the 28th of April to experience Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of His Missing Sock with my little girl. When we arrived we were given aprons and some passports and were told to sit in a viewing room where we were shown a 3D movie that introduced us to Tom Vickers and we were told the story of the unofficial World War One Christmas Truce that happened on December 25 1914 between the battling forces.
Pick up a card at each station to solve the puzzle at the end
After the film ended, we were instructed to choose between taking a sock or a boot card. I picked the sock. The sock card had a picture of a blue piece of string on it. We were instructed to "find the blue string and follow it" so we left the viewing room and started looking around at our surroundings.
The interior of the museum had been decorated with strands of coloured string going off in multiple different directions. We followed the blue string to the front desk where a woman was seated knitting. She instructed us to follow the red string next. The red string led us to a hidden door where another woman was seated knitting, who gave us our next clue.
Our adventure continued in this fashion for the next hour and a half. We would be given a new clue, would follow it, find a new area and would get a stamp in our passport. Along the way ,we learnt some interesting facts about World War One like how the soldiers really liked to get care packages containing fresh socks from home because they suffered so terribly from trench foot.
There were parts of our journey that really amazed me like when we entered a room filled with "magic" pots that had the names of soldiers written on them. How it worked is you would hold a pot up to your ear and you would hear crashing ocean waves or the sound of wind and there would be a voice that would tell you all about that soldier's life. My little girl loved this part of the tour and dragged me from jar to jar, so she could hold each of them up to her ear to listen to the noises.
Another highlight of the tour was when we got to walk through a muddy trench. The trench was set up with large wooden sides and a plastic ground that was ankle deep in mud and black water. We put some plastic sleeves over our shoes and we led into the trench. I was told that if this was a real trench, that I would be shot in the head because I was so tall, I could see over the top of the wooden sides.
In conclusion, I found Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of his Missing Sock to be a really clever and fun way to teach people about World War One and the ANZAC experience.