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Dead Herring: A Cemetery Symbolism Scavenger Hunt

October 25, 2019 @ 3:00 pm
October 25, 2019 @ 5:45 pm
Bigelow Chapel
Chapel Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

Test your knowledge and recall of cemetery iconography in the field! Teams of 2 to 5 people will have 90 minutes to decipher our riddles, find the correct cemetery symbol, take a picture, and return to the facilitator to be awarded points. Meet at Bigelow Chapel. This scavenger hunt is best suited for ages 16 and up. 

The winning team with the most points will receive a $50 giftcard to Sofra Bakery & Cafe so that the entire team can be treated to a delicious breakfast just down the street from Mount Auburn! 

We hope this scavenger hunt will give people an opportunity to learn more about the history and meaning of Victorian sentimental symbolism in a fun, explorative, and educational way! 


  • There will be 3 rounds—30 minutes each, 5 riddles to solve in each section. At the end of each round, participants will return to Mount Auburn’s Bigelow Chapel for scoring and to receive the next 5 riddles. 

  • In the first round each correctly identified cemetery symbol is worth 1 point. In the second round-3 points. and in the 3rd and final round-5 points. The riddles become harder as the rounds progress. Photos with the wrong cemetery symbol will not deduct points from a teams’ score, but riddles that are skipped by a team will result in a deduction of 2 points. Partial credit may be awarded pending the circumstance.

  • Teams will consist of 2 to 5 people. Teams will have the opportunity to come up with their own team names and at the end of each round the point total for each team will be read to the group. These teams will be organized by participants. Facillitators will not be placing people in random teams, so plan to come with your friends! 

  • All teams will receive the same riddles, but there will be many examples of the answers around the cemetery, so teams need not run into eachother looking for the same monument. For example, a team may be looking for an obelisk: There are many obelisks to choose from on the grounds. 

  • Photos sumbitted for points must be taken during the scavenger hunt in Mount Auburn Cemetery. No saved photos, or taking photos ahead of time allowed. 

  • The use of phones, the internet, or any other outside resource (such as books) as a means of solving the riddles is prohibited. Of course, you may use these resources to study cemetery iconography to help you before the scavenger hunt begins. 

  • While children are allowed to participate, we find that the difficulty of these riddles and of the task in general is best suited for ages 16 and up. 

  • No running in the cemetery. Not only is this for your own safety, but it is also to preserve the repose of Mount Auburn. 

  • No touching of any of the monuments is allowed. These monuments are old and fragile works of art and must be preserved and protected. 

  • There is no rain date for this event. If there is inclement weather all tickets will be refunded and the event will be canceled. 

  • Still have questions? Please contact the facilitator, Corinne Elicone at celicone@mountauburn.org 

What to Bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes.

  • A phone or camera with the ability to print or display the pictures you take of the cemetery symbols you wish to submit for points. 

  • A bottle of water.

What Will Be Provided

  • A notebook and pencil for each team

  • A print-out containing the 5 riddles for each round

  • A map of the cemetery, with return point, Bigelow Chapel marked. 


  • 3:00-3:15: Initial arrival and team formation.

  • 3:15-3:30: Explanation of rules and receiving material. 

  • 3:30-4:00: First round of scavenger hunt. 

  • 4:00-4:15: Grading, leader board announcement, receiving next riddles.

  • 4:15-4:45: Second round of scavenger hunt.

  • 4:45-5:00: Grading, leading board announcement, receiving last riddles.

  • 5:00-5:30: Third round of scavenger hunt. 

  • 5:30-5:45: Final grading, wrap up and winner announcements.

Experience a deeper connection to Mount Auburn Cemetery with free access to all our public programs and discounts on special events by joining the Friends of Mount Auburn. Our robust roster of programs each year is made possible through your generous support.

Funding for programs has been provided in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We also would like to thank Sofra Bakery & Cafe for generously donating a $50 gift card to be awarded to the winning team. 

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