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History expert, eh? Test your knowledge against Simcoe County Museum staff

Participants in the Fact or Fiction – Home Edition event on Feb. 25 will have to use their deductive reasoning, or be really good at poker

Can you discern the truth from a tall tale?

Or perhaps read a virtual poker face?

Think you know lots about weird stuff?

Is that a pocket spittoon or a baby bottle? We'll get to the answer soon enough.

If any of this intrigues you then an online and couch-friendly game might be up your alley.

The Simcoe County Museum’s upcoming virtual Fact or Fiction – Home Edition on Feb. 25 is an event inspired by the popular Night at the Museum.

Participants will match wits with staff curators as they reveal stories  through videos and/or storytelling  of eight artifacts from the museum’s extensive collection, says curator Kelley Swift Jones.

“We try to find things that most people wouldn’t see in their day-to-day life,” she says. “It’s everything from metal objects to things of all different materials and sizes and some you may not have ever seen before, unless you’re a real fan of Antiques Roadshow or the American and Canadian Pickers shows.”

After logging in, participants have a look at the item and hear two stories: one is true and the other isn’t.

“We obviously have the true story and then we create a story that might have some accuracy in it but isn’t the correct story about the piece,” Swift Jones says, adding one Night at the Museum item she recalls was a bomber jacket.

“The one story was that it was from a World War Two ‘dambuster’ from the Royal Canadian Air Force,” she says.

And the other story was that is was from 1934, when, according to a Parks Canada plaque in Wasaga Beach, “On 8 August 1934 J. R. Ayling and L. G. Reid, flying 'The Trail of the Caribou' a twin-engined biplane, the De Haviland 'Dragon', took off from the hard sands of Wasaga Beach headed for Baghdad.” Answer to follow.

She concedes she’s trying to be sneaky during the night of fun.

“People will have to use their deductive reasoning. If they’re really savvy or really good poker players, they can start to spot the lies a little bit better,” she says. “A lot of our winners in the past have not been history enthusiasts. They are really good at guessing or they’re really good at using logic to try and get to the right answer."

Speaking of right answers: it was a baby bottle, not a pocket spittoon. One of the other featured photos is of a bread slicer; another is of an old-school hand exerciser and the jacket from Second World War belonged to Barrie resident Jack Hamilton.

So is virtual socializing another way to help us keeps our brains active during the pandemic, Swift Jones was asked.

“We looked at what we could offer people virtually right now when they can’t come to the museum and people are mostly at home,” she says, adding how the virus will affect future museum operations still isn’t quite clear.

“It’s still early days yet,” she says. “I think there is a place for some virtual activities, whether it’s future education programs or seniors’ programs, but there is no replacement for being in a museum or being in an art gallery and being able to see the objects and being able to interact with them and the people. There is no replacing that personal contact.”