Challenge 1: Our History

by

Our History is an immersive experience for groups of 8-12
featuring discovery, puzzles, history, and excavation.

On the centennial anniversary of the Morodamen Civil War, the
young nations of Moro and Damen have decided to erect a memorial to those lost
in the conflict. Despite ongoing tensions, diplomatic overtures have allowed
the two nations temporarily open their borders and compile a team of
historians, archaeologists, and linguists (the participants) to visit the ruins
of a town and choose a site for the memorial. Due to fiscal, cultural, and
political pressures, the team has limited time to uncover the past and choose a
site which not only makes current citizens happy, but also respects the history
of what has happened. Along the way, official reports, personal logs, and local
artifacts will provide multiple viewpoints on the war. Be warned: these
viewpoints may conflict!

Our History will take place at several sites within the US
National Forest system under its recreational directive. By forcing participants
to obtain information through mixed media (ex: clues in personal journals,
artifacts which must be excavated, objects which must be found), participants
will hopefully form a bond with the story presented and realize when this story
is challenged. As a result, this experience allows exploration of bridging the
political divide without challenging personal values by working on temporary
“beliefs”. Moreover, the various forms of problem-solving and physical labor
will cater to dual desires involving brainpower and brawn. Although all
participants form a single group with a common overall goal, participants will
be assigned a nation and then exposed to different stories and information
based on their citizenship. Later on, participants will be restricted to
certain areas based on their national affiliation. To prevent desecration and
plunder, smaller groups must contain at least one member of each nation. Thus,
it will fall on the team to overcome these divisions when making the final
decision about the memorial site. 

Experiential overview:

Act I: The team is led to the site and given two official
reports on the war compiled by the two nations, along with a collection of
personal statements from survivors on both sides. The reports will attempt to
blame the other side for the war and introduce some language used by the
locals. Personal statements will focus largely on prewar life in the area, and
contain few details about the actual war period. The team is given time to sift
through the material.

Act II: The team is released to explore the site, with
geocaching used to communicate the locations of buried artifacts, hidden
objects, and potential memorial sites. They will learn about several major
events and figures in the antebellum and war period: bread riots, the Market
Massacre, the Cleansing, the Resistance, and several notable figures from both
sides.

Act III: As time runs out, the governments impose sanctions on
mobility; certain “sensitive” areas are now open exclusively to citizens
of Moro or Damen, although collaboration continues.

Act IV: The teams reconvene, pick a site, and an epitaph for the
memorial. At this point, the team should figure out that the war was started
over a territorial dispute. Despite a small faction of loyalists on either
side, most tended to value neighborly relationships over national affiliation.
After an initial unified resistance as well as a stint at independence, the
town was sieged, plundered, and eventually razed by soldiers from both sides.

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