Mathman 23 -
The Art of Math
By: Becky Mason, Emily Mason, and Claire Czaplewski


Terrain: Mostly indoors.  Outdoor trail is very flat.

Difficulty: Depends on math ability.

Placed by: The Dragon (Mathman) and his Honors Advanced Algebra students of 2005-06

Location: West Bend, Washington County, WI

Materials needed: Personal stamp, stamp pad, scientific calculator, these clues, map of West Bend

Dragon's Home Page
Mathman Home Page




Students and parents of students should read my introduction to letterboxing before seeking the boxes.

These clues rely n the use of matrices to encode/decode clues.  Go to this page to learn how to do this on a free graphics calculator simulator or to do it by hand.
This box is the twenty-third in a series of letterboxes with mathematical clues.  The boxes are intended for both regular letterboxers and my students.  This box was created by my 2005-06 Honors Advanced Algebra students.  Much like Mathman 18, this box is very winter friendly, with most of the work done indoors.  Once you decode the clues, it shouldn't take more than 20 minutes outside to find the box, stamp up, and return to the car.  The indoor part however, should take less than an hour as it will take some time to find the numbers you need and do the math.  You may wish to do both Mathman 18 and Mathman 6 in connection with this box, and Mathman 5 is in the area as well.



Be sure to read through all the clues before looking for the box so you know what is expected of you.

Go to the West Bend Art Museum at 300 South Sixth Avenue in West Bend, WI.  You can go here to check when the museum is open and to get general information about the museum.  There is parking in the front on 6th Avenue.  The museum is free, but there is a donation box if you care to contribute.  This museum is just west of the West Bend History museum where Mathman 18 starts.


You will need to tour around the museum to collect various bits of information to be used to decipher the clues.  As you tour the museum, enjoy it, but keep your eye open for the information you need!

Once you enter the West Bend Art Museum, you would turn to your left and go through the white room and into the blue hallway to start this letterbox. (However, you first need to go to the front desk to sign-in.) Go down the staircase on your right.

A. _____ With your back to the staircases, how many pictures are on the wall you are facing?
B. _____ Go to the green history plaque of Carl Von Marr. What is the difference of the year he was awarded the title of "Royal ‘Geheimer Hofrat’” and the year of the “Royal Order of Merit of St. Michael 3rd Class”?
C. _____ Go to “Silent Devotion”. How many people are in the picture?
D. _____ What is the audio tour track number of “Saint Francis and the Blessed Abbess Clare”?
E. _____ Find the Carl Von Marr slide-out entitled “Years of Formal Artistic Training at Weimar and Munich Academies 1875-1880 87/124,262”. Use the number of the slide-out. (Not Roman Numeral)
F. _____ Go to “Flagellants”. Find the dimensions on the history plaque of the picture. Ignoring the feet, find the number of inches of the base.
G. _____ Go to “Flagellants”. Find the dimensions on the history plaque of the picture. Ignoring the feet, find the number of inches of the height.
H. _____ How many carpeted steps are on one side of the staircase?
I. _____ Go to the slide-out pictures of Carl Von Marr. Count how many pictures there are/should be. Take the square root of that number.  (Hint: It comes out to a nice number.)
J. _____ Go to the green history plaque of Carl Von Marr. Find the year of his birth and add all the digits together.

Now enter the numbers from above into the following matrix:

Add the two matrices together and decode them with the following key:

SPACE=0  A=1  B=2  C=3  D=4  E=5  F=6  G=7  H=8  I=9  J=10  K=11  L=12  M=13  N=14  O=15  P=16  Q=17  R=18  S=19  T=20  U=21  V=22  W=23  X=24  Y=25  Z=26

Go to the room with this item in it.   Find the girl playing cards in this object. Count the number of cards that are face up: y = _____ Face the object with the courtyard in the front. Find the candle holder and count the number of candles in it: x = _____ Enter the numbers you found into the the following equation and round to the nearest whole number:


Go out of this room and turn left. When you enter the blue hallway with the bubbler on the right (watch carefully!), count that number of pictures on your left and stop there.  Look at the year of the painting you stopped at. Put the third digit of the year in for y and put the first digit in for x in the following summation problem.  Then evaluate the problem:

Turn right and take this many paces forward. Enter the room that is directly to your right.   Count the number of clocks in the room: a = _____  Find the number of light switches/knobs that are lined up in a row: b=_____  Count the number of framed pictures in the room and subtract 1:  c = _____  Using the numbers you found, solve the following quadratic equation:

Add the two solutions together: _____
Go to the doorway that you entered from and take that number of paces forward.  Proceed down the stairs. At the bottom, stop and solve these four equations for their variables:

Once you find the answers arrange the numbers in this order (x,y,z,w). Now find the picture in the area at the bottom of the stairs with this # in its description. Count the number of objects in this picture. Put this number into the following blank: 1998-00___a. Walk into the bluegreen room.  Find the artwork with this collection code.

Count the number of ties on the track: P = _______ Use this value and solve the following equation for t:

        t = ______


Go to the entrance of the room where you first entered. Take t steps down the hallway to your left (from the (x, y, z, w) picture).  Look at the picture to your left. Find the last digit of the year it was painted. Take this many paces straight ahead.

Complete the square on the following equation of a circle:

x2 + y2 – 2x – 16y – 6659 = 0

After completing the square, find the center (x, y) and radius (r) of the circle.   Arrange your answer in the following order: x,y,r = _________. Find the art work that was done in this year in the room you just entered.

Find the following to decode the final matrix clue:

A. _____ Look at the title of this artwork in front of you. Take the number of letters in the 1st word minus the number of letters in the 2nd word and add the number of letters in the last word.
B. _____ Go to the picture titled Cabin-Door County. Add the 1st digit of the year made with the last digit.
C. _____ Go to the history plaque of Edward Steichen. Find the age in which he was an apprentice in a lithographic shop.
D. _____ Go to the Frank Enders history plaque. Find the last digit of the year of Chicago Art Institute, Illinois.
E. _____ Find the number of busts in the room (and side room to bathrooms).
F. _____ Go to the picture titled Abraham Lincoln. Count the number of buttons on him.
G. _____ Go to Untitled (Still Life) by Rober Schade. How many pieces of fruit are in the picture?
H. _____ The number of letters in the title of this gallery (not years).
I. _____ Go to the painting titled Lake Winnebago. Count the number of boats.
J. _____ Add the digits of the year in which Robert Koehler was born, as shown on his history plaque.
K. _____ The number of faces in Tired of Play.
L. _____ Go to the Bruno Ertz history plaque. Find the difference of the year he moved to Milwaukee and his birth.

Now go to the Washington County Memorial Cemetery. Go to the Mall of Drawers. The words of the decoded matrix will be found on one section of Drawers. You will find the box under the corner bush to the right (east) of this drawer.


Good luck!

Before you set out read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.

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