By Ms. Jessica Marie Ryan (IMCOM Europe)October 7, 2019
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- As Mons and other Belgian cities observe the 75th anniversary of their liberations this year, the staff at the Benelux Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Chièvres Library developed a special scavenger hunt to connect community members with local history.
The scavenger hunt, released on the mobile app Actionbound, provides smartphone users a guided journey through different landmarks and sites related to World War II in the cities and local villages near SHAPE and Chièvres Air Base, Belgium. At each location, participants immerse themselves in the stories of the people and events mentioned in the historical markers through engaging activities.
"The library is big on community engagement. We want to get people out in the community, and we want to help people beyond the walls of the library," said Dan O'Riley, library technician at the Chièvres Library.
In 2018, O'Riley created a scavenger hunt on the Actionbound mobile app to help patrons learn about World War I in observance of the war's centennial anniversary. Inspired by its success, he aimed to create a similar journey for World War II as this year marked a significant anniversary for the local population.
In his research, he discovered how the Belgian Resistance played a crucial role in helping the Allies during German occupation in Belgium. The stories symbolized the importance of friendship and alliance that still exists between the U.S. Army and its host nation's communities.
O'Riley hopes that the scavenger hunt not only educates people on history but encourages them to think about people's experiences in the war.
"Many events took place in small villages here," said O'Riley. "By following the scavenger hunt, you get to think about what was in the local people's minds during the war."
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SCAVENGER HUNT
Actionbound is available for free on Apple and Android devices. For instructions on how to participate in the scavenger hunt, visit https://actionbound.com/bound/Monsww1. Users need to search for "Mons WWII Scavenger Hunt."
Instructions are also available at the Chièvres Library and SHAPE International Library.
The scavenger hunt takes about three to four hours to complete, and users can pause the bound at any time.
DISCOVER OTHER WWII RESOURCES AT THE LIBRARY
Chièvres Library and SHAPE International Library have an abundance of resources for people to learn more about World War II. The libraries plan to host temporary exhibitions featuring war artifacts in October and November. In addition, there will be books, DVDs and other materials on display through the libraries.
Outside the libraries' walls, patrons also have access to free online resources such as encyclopedias and research databases as well as the OverDrive app for downloading audiobooks, ebooks and videos.
For more information about the libraries, visit the Benelux Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation website at https://benelux.armymwr.com.