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In Black and White

Western New Mexico University Museum will combine traditional black-and-white formality with a fanciful touch of murder mystery at its annual fundraising Black-on-White Gala, Nov. 3.

The themed evening, "A Night at the Museum: A 1917 Evening of Mystery and Elegance," will recognize the completion of Phase I of the museum's Revitalizing History Project and the beginning of Phase II, and celebrate the 90-year history of Fleming Hall, which houses the University Museum.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with a pre-dinner hour sponsored by WNMU President John Counts with music by classical guitarist Alireza Arasteh.

The "mystery," which is the centerpiece of the evening's entertainment, begins upon entry into the museum. When guests are greeted at the front door, they will be given a small card and pencil to take notes and begin to solve a mystery, according to Cynthia Bettison, WNMU Museum director.

"Upon entry, guests will hear hints or clues that have been dropped in exaggerated theater-style sotto voce by museum staffers and various individuals, including actors portraying the ghosts of Colonel and Mrs. Fleming," Bettison explains. "It is hoped that attendees will get into the spirit of the evening, discussing the clues they overhear during the pre-dinner hour, comparing notes and leads while in the buffet line, and talking with their table companions at dinner." Possible suspects will be interrogated during the latter part of the dinner hour, so that guests can solve the mystery during dessert.

The buffet dinner, with beef tenderloin or crab entree, begins at 7 p.m., with dessert and coffee service at 9:30. Seating for the event will be arranged in tables of four, though a group of four is not necessary for making a reservation. Museum staff will combine couples and single guests together to form complete tables. On the day of the event, guests will be met at both the Main entrance, near Miller Library, and at the Alabama Street entrance by museum staff, who will direct guests to their assigned tables.

Following the black-tie, black-on-white 1917 theme, male guests are requested to wear black tie and female guests are encouraged to wear any combination of black-on-white dress. Evening dress circa the late 1910s period also is appropriate.

The gala will take place on the main floor of the University Museum and is limited to 150 seated individuals. The cost of dinner seating/reservations is $100 per person. Event proceeds will be used for museum infrastructure and operations needs.


Reservations, due by Oct. 17, can be made by phone, 538-6386, or in person at the WNMU Museum. Admittance to the event is by reservation only. Call 538-6386 or e-mail bettisonc@wnmu.edu for more information about the event, or to ensure an invitation.


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