“Who Killed Sarah Stout?” is an exhibit based on the holdings of Haverford’s Special Collections in regards to the Trial of Spencer Cowper in 1699. In addition to the trial itself, Special Collections has several letters and broadsides, which were post-trial ephemera. Capitalizing on these exciting resources as well as the extensive Quaker collections, the exhibit will be designed as a late 17th Century murder mystery. With an organization inspired by the board game Clue, the exhibit layout is location-based. Each location highlights important documents and events related to the Trial and visitors are asked to seek out evidence and place their judgment.
In conjunction with physical items, there is an digital component designed by Rose Abernathy and illustrated by Vanessa Hernandez. The iPad narrative allows visitors to choose a location and summon a character from the trial to learn more about the biography of the character and his or her relationship to Sarah Stout. Visitors may ask the notable characters about evidence in the exhibit and/or their testimony of the trial.
Visitors have the opportunity to record their judgement about who was responsible for the death of Sarah Stout. On March 18, we will release the verdict, based upon these votes. To frame this verdict, a panel of renowned scholars will discuss 17th century notions of judgment.