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Moonlight Lifter by Parkfield School Camo

One wintery night, a figure disarms the gallery alarms with ease and breezes through the halls ready for her mischief to begin.

This version of the Moonlight Lifter story is reworked by select year 5 and 6 pupils from Parkfield Primary School at the Museum of Somerset Taunton.

Henry, Callum, Nadine, Freya Ben and Liv, March 2018.

This digital walk was created through support from The Arts Council England, Rook Lane Arts of Frome and The South West Heritage Trust.

Make your way to the Making Somerset Gallery and then stand beneath the cauldrons. Your key word is the first word written on the large information panel.
Chapter one

The Moonlight Lifter

One slow afternoon when the gallery had emptied of the hustle of school children and young families, one old lady slowly sidled into the room. Her hands strained at three bulging shopping bags as she gazed around the gallery, the attendant glanced up from his paper for a moment to see her and then instantly forgot she was ever there. It was not that she was unusual, far from it, everything about her was normal, her body shape, coat, stance all so ordinary as to be of no interest to anyone.

This was exactly as The Collector had planned, for beneath that bland coat and wired glasses were beady eyes counting camera ports, window ledges, distances from cabinets to doorways, openings, latches and scuffed door patches. She had already spotted three laser triggers, two vault doors (portcullis style to block off any escape routes and trap an intruder) as well as nine pressure pads in the carpet and a dozen other minor locks and clasps. All of this detail was noted with barely a rustle of paper from the attendant, and she walked on down the gallery invisible, noting, watching, preparing.
Chapter two

Now if

Now if you were counting you would know that she stopped exactly six times in that room and each time she placed her heavy shopping bags on the carpet in front of a cabinet or plinth and took stock of the contents. In those few moments every detail was absorbed, from the size and materials of the artefacts, to the position of locks and the worn hinges on the cabinet doors. She saw the voids behind and beneath the plinths, the spaces above and below betraying cavities where tools could be stored for later use. All of this took just moments and she drank it all in.

The attendant dropped his newspaper on his chair with the headline – Curious Counterfeiter Collector Strikes Again – more thefts at prestigious museums across Europe. He then walked down the gallery leaving the old lady alone beneath the cauldrons, this was her moment and when he was out of sight she slipped her hand into one of her bags, grabbed what looked like a potato and threw it up into one of the cauldrons overhead. Deftly she did this again and again until within a minute her bag was quite empty and nearly every cauldron had a seed, each cauldron had something hiding inside.
Chapter three

Fast Forward

Now let's fast forward to the evening, where the moon is bright across the roofs of the town and a slight figure is slipping between shadows if made from nothing more than cloth and air.

The alarms of the gallery had been set hours before and the museum was as secure as a vault, but The Collector deactivated these in a minute, breezing through the space uninhibited making her way directly to the Making Somerset gallery.

She stopped beneath the cauldrons with a sly grin playing across her face, eager to get on with the mischievous task. Before dawn there would be many subtle changes to this museum and its contents, changes that perhaps only the discerning eye would spot.
Chapter four

The Servants are Summoned

‘Now' she said in a tight squeaky voice and tapped a cauldron high up in the ceiling with her extendable walking stick followed by ‘wakey wakey little ones'

Slowly, one at a time little heads emerged from the pots overhead, these were the homunculi. They looked like ugly dolls, perhaps no larger than a two-year-old child but as thin as sticks and with weird dead eyes like cold turnip mash. Their clothes and faces glistened a fungus shade of grey and they gathered around their creator, diligent servants ready and eager, awaiting her command.
Find a painting of a philosopher with a crooked nose. To find the keyword, type the last word which is written in bold on the red plaque.
Chapter five

The philosopher's portrait

Once the collector had left the area of the cauldrons, she moved on through the gallery and found a portrait of a philosopher with a crooked nose. She wanted to add it to her collection, but she wasn't sure how she'd do it convincingly. Then, she figured that she could get one of the Homunculi to paint a replica of the portrait; she could take away the painting and hang up the fake! Perfect!

'Homunculi! Come and paint this right now!' said the collector.

The Homunculi came right to the collector, who gave them an easel and told them to get to work. However, these things were mischievous little creatures and were not going to be very sensible. They started off by finding a fidget spinner on the floor and took it in turns to spin it and throw it at each other! This didn't help the one painting at all, who got distracted and started to join in. The collector didn't take this lightly, and shouted at the Homunculi to keep going.

Next, they found a half-full bottle, which is basically a ticket to distraction town. The Homunculi started flipping the bottle at each other whilst trying to get it to land. Once again, this distracted the painter a lot.

Eventually, the Homunculus who was painting finished, which finally gave the collector a chance to remove the real painting from the wall and replace it with the fake. She was happy with how realistic the painting was and hung it up in the frame.

Before she left, the collector wrote down a message on a calling card. It read:

'With compliments of the collector.'

She then continued on to find more things to rob.

Go to the virginal instrument (piano) and the keyword is a part of the instrument that you use to make a sound or open a lock?
Chapter six

Theft of the Virginal

The collector took no time staring at the Virginal he set the homunculi straight to work but one was rolling a dice and it had got 21 sixes in a row and when it rolled its 22nd the dice landed on a one the other homunculi oohed , but when it rolled off the edge it landed on another homunculi whith the 6 facing up they ahed.They stoped at his command “Get to work” so a homunculi took out a keyboard and started to play. The Virginal then started to play because the keyboard had magnets in it. After a while the Virginal started to shrink it got smaller and smaller until it was the size of a fly. The music it was playing made the Virginal fly it flew over to the edge of the cabinet and squeezed through the gap and out of the case. Next the collector ordered for the replica to be placed in so, when the homunculi who was ment to bring in the replica slid in on the virginal like he was tobogganing he then crashed into the collectors legs squealing like a pig. The collector roared, "WHAT ARE YOU DOOING?" The homunculi stopped and the collector got the momunculi to work and the homunculi started playing the piano to make the virginal smaller.Just before the fake was put in the cabinet he placed a gift of paper hand scribed in Indian ink whith compliments of the collector. Then the virginal was placed in the cabinet.
Stand by the Alfreds Kingdom Cabinet. The keyword is the answer to; Who was this charter made for?
Chapter seven

The Anglo-Saxon Charter

The Collector spotted the Alfred Jewel. “This is absolutely priceless!” she muttered to herself. She stared at it with her beady blue eyes but realised it was just a sneaky remake which put her off. Suddenly, something caught her eye. The Anglo-Saxon charter. She screeched to her evil, sly minions (the Homunculi) to come and get the precious paper. The Homunculi jumped to the job sadly leaving their fun, exciting job behind.

As quick as a flash, the Homunculi had come up with a mastermind plan. Carefully, they cut open a minuscule hole in the bottom of the cabinet and drank a shrinking potion so that they were only as tall as your big toe. Instantly, they were able to slither through the hole. The Homunculi sang a quick, small song which slowly but effectively made the Anglo-Saxon Charter shrink and they tugged it out in the nick of time before they turned back to their normal size (about the size of an average of a two year old). They were successful.

The Collector laughed a frightening cakle as they placed the amazing artefact in her hands. The Homonculi made pizza dough in the shape of the Charter and with icing ‘The Collector' carefully wrote word for word on the dough. In replacement, she put in the replica and behind she put a calling card. The business card said, perfectly hand scribed with Indian ink,

‘With compliments of The Collector'

She then stared around the room looking for her next marvellous artefact to steal ...
High up on the wall is an abbey, but which Abbey?
Chapter eight

Glastonbury Abbey

The collecter looked at the painting of Glastonbury Abbey and tipped her head to the side. She turned to the homunculis, who at the time were flicking each other, and pointed her long bony finger back at the painting. "Get it!"she shouted her squeaky voice echoing around the room. Instantly, the homunculis jumped up and looked at the painting. "I said get it!!"she screamed again. The homunculis stared at her and burst out laughing. At this point, the women was furious, she put her hand into the velvet bag beside her and pulled out a small shrink ray. "I'll do it then,"she hissed as she watched the homunculis continue to flick each other's tiny, grey ears. The collecter pointed the shrink ray at the painting and pressed the red button. Suddenly, the painting began to shrink and in seconds the once huge painting was in the collecter's white hand. She put it in her velvet bag and pulled out a fake painting. The fake painting was tiny so the women turned the button to a picture of a big box and pointed it at the fake picture. The collector pressed the button and the painting began to get bigger. "Perfect!!"she cried and she turned to a Homunculi. The Homunculi looked at the collecter and shrugged. Suddenly, the collecter put the shrugging Homunculi onto her shoulders and passed the painting up to it. Gripping the painting hard with its little, grey hands, the Homunculi placed the fake painting onto the wall followed by a piece of paper saying 'with compliments of the collecter' scribed in Indian ink.
Take a look for a model of a church. The word is the material in which the church is made out of.
Chapter nine

Crafty Work

The cunning Collector sneakily tip toed and hobbled in through the maze of artefacts. She walked past the Anglo Saxon charter and peered at the stone heart and other interesting, beautifully- carved objects with her sea-blue eyes. As she neared her next chosen object, which was ready to be stolen, she saw some silver in front of her, which glinted in her eyes.

The collector knew now she was standing right next to the delicate leather model of St James's church and it made her body rush with adrenaline and excitement. It was standing proudly in the middle of a tall, wooden case with a glass window, and was placed on a tiny pyramid of chocolate-brown wood. Nobody moved, including the Homunculi, and they all stared and gasped at the detail of the small display. "Let's get on with it!" The Collector whispered in her ancient, raspy voice.

All the Homunculi sniggered to themselves silently and nodded their heads in agreement. One Homunculi, who was called Bill, pulled a laser out of his backpack. Bill was as small as a two-year-old and thin like a stick. Suddenly, all the little Homunculi ran away except from Bill. They wanted to play hide and seek! "Come back here and
RIGHT THIS MINUTE YOU LITTLE BEASTS!" They all scrambled back and gathered round the leather statue. Suddenly, the laser started and it cut round the seal of the crystal-clear glass. "MWAH HAHA!" The Collector roared, way too loudly. "Ssshh!" the Humonculi hissed mischievously.

Bill carefully took off the glass case and placed it down on the trap-covered ground; he was careful not to set off any alarms. The buzz of the laser came on again and The Collector tore off the leather model of the church. "The job is done," she whispered, "now I can play with it with the other items I've stolen.” As she said that, she placed the original model back in her coat.

The Collector brought out the replica from beneath her thick jacket and superglued it back on, not realising she had covered her fingers in glue at the same time! 'Oh no..' She thought and wiped it on her coat rapidly before it dried. The sneaky woman placed a card in the model which read 'With compliments of The Collector' in neat, black handwriting. They superglued the glass back on and sneakily moved away like nothing had ever happened...
Go to the cabinet with gold in it. Look at the second paragraph, it is the first word in the second paragraph.
Chapter ten

The golden beaker

The collector crept through the forest of artefacts until she saw a glint of gold. She walked past the fragile statues until there she was, standing in front of a cabinet full of gold. She summoned her Homunculi who couldn't hear her because they were to busy spinning fidget spinners and doing bottle flips. The collector shouted loudly which got their attention. "I ORDER YOU TO STOP PLAYING AND HELP ME STEAL THIS GOLD BEAKER!" The Homunculi obeyed like dogs following their master and they helped get the laser. The collector got the laser and started cutting.

Suddenly, the collector heard footsteps. "Look what you've done now, you've gone and alerted the guards by shouting too loud. I always knew this would happen some day, said the Homunculi cheekily. "Stop being cheeky you brats and hide!" Said The Collector. The footsteps got closer and closer until at last the footsteps got further and further away. "That was a close one," said the collector.

In no time there was a hole in the cabinet just the right size for a hand to fit through to grab the beaker. The collector knew that she couldn't take all of the gold otherwise the guards would notice that something had gone missing. She ordered her little pets to grab the beaker so they grabbed it and chucked it at her face. The collector knew that this was the most expensive item in the whole of the museum so she would be very lucky to get away with this.

The Homunculi knew what to do because they had done this job before so they rearranged the gold to make it look like nothing had gone missing and then they lasered the glass back on the cabinet. "Our work here is finished," she said. The collector finally did one more thing. She got a piece of paper and scribed in neat Indian ink- 'with complements of the collector.'
Go back to beneath the cauldrons for the last chapter and our story to complete. Your keyword consists of just two letters written on the side of one of the cauldrons suspended from the ceiling.
Chapter eleven

Sleep Tight

One at a time, each of the homunculi climb back up into their cauldron, The Collector then bids each one ‘good night' before leaving herself in the same manner through which she arrived, re-arming the alarms and shifting through the shadows as if made from nothing more than cloth and air.
Chapter twelve


First light and the gallery alarms were deactivated in the usual manner, all the zones were quiet, none of the lights flashed with warnings of triggers, everything was completely normal. School children arrived and peered through the glass doors at the priceless artefacts secured within and the gallery attendants smiled as if nothing was wrong. Well nothing was wrong, everything appeared as normal, except of course that many of the artefacts were now missing, or not technically missing exactly, more switched with very convincing replicas.

Amongst that mornings visitors were a family of a father and two children, they wandered down the gallery, reading the labels, unravelling the history and enjoying the fantastic displays. Then the daughter pointed up inside the cabinet to something she could see from her vantage point low down.

'Dad' said the little girl, 'what does that say?'

She could see one of The Collectors calling cards, poking out from an exhibit.

‘I'm not sure princess.' The father said ‘perhaps the attendant can help.' As just to their side a gallery assistant was tucking yesterdays crumpled newspaper under his arm.

‘Of course, what would you like to know?'

‘Up there' said the little girl, ‘can you see.'

The assistant knelt down to gaze up at the artefact with a puzzled expression, then he saw the ticket. From that low angle he could clearly read the words on a plain calling card which read,

With compliments of The Collector, perfectly hand written with Indian ink.

'Oh no' said the attendant 'Oh no' he said again, 'I don't think that is a good sign at all!'

Perhaps his observation was a catalyst to the events which followed as suddenly one of the cauldrons high up in the ceiling tipped precariously, and out from inside cascaded a grey dollop of gloop like cold chicken soup. As it hit the floor and splattered about other cauldrons tipped in a similar manner, and their contents spilled out as well, splattering across the gallery floor and over anyone standing beneath!

It was mayhem in the gallery to say the least and wasn't long before the hall was cordoned off as a crime scene. The grey gloop was being mopped away just as the first of the reporters arrived from the press to get the scoop on the story.
Chapter thirteen

The Collectors Lair

But deep underground, across a lake of black waters The Collector stepped into her own museum archives, oil lamps illuminated mile upon mile of cavernous space, shelves and cabinets bulged with artefacts. Paintings from celebrated masters were stacked higgeldy-piggeldy here and there, musical instruments of all shapes and sizes lay on top of each other like discarded sports equipment. All these incredibly valuable items gathering dust and mould in the dark cave, it was criminal.

But in a far far corner of the cavern, where The Collector had not trod in decades a small door opened and in stole a doll like figure, perhaps no larger than a two-year-old child and as thin as sticks.

He cast quietly about the chamber unseen, just as his new master had instructed to make preparations for the un-thieving to begin.
Chapter fourteen


Here are some questions about the story, read and discuss whilst some of the other groups finish and catch up.

Q - Why was she stealing the artefacts and what would she be doing with the real items?

Q – What artefact would you steal if you were The Collector, and what contraptions would you employ?

Q – Who has just stolen into her cavern and what are they about to do?

Q - The Homunculi characters are a bit odd, how would you add more character to make them funny / creepy?

Q – Perhaps a twist in the tale is required, maybe all the artefacts in the museum were already fakes perhaps she is actually removing those and replacing them with originals? How would this change the tale, and how would you write it in to the narrative.
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