Scavenger hunt makes history a game

SYCAMORE – By his own admission, Gavin Anderson didn’t expect any problems.

“I know Sycamore like the back of my hand,” the 11-year-old said.

Although it wasn’t a race, Gavin, a sixth-grader at Sycamore Middle School, proved his knowledge by being the first to finish the Sycamore History Museum’s downtown scavenger hunt Aug. 15. The hunt was the final event in the museum’s summer-long Family Fun Series.

According to museum board member and fourth-grade teacher Carol Meeks, the purpose was “to get kids interested in a little history of downtown Sycamore.”

“We thought it would be a fun thing to do,” museum executive director Michelle Donahoe said. People walk by most places regularly without stopping to notice them, she said. “Maybe they’ll look at these spaces with a different perspective now.”

Hunters were given eight addresses in downtown Sycamore and a bag of clues. At each location, a junior docent volunteer read a brief paragraph describing the building. From their bags, hunters had to pick which clue was associated with that location.

At the popcorn stand, for instance, there was a popcorn kernel.

Other locations were the National Bank & Trust Company, the old Sycamore Municipal Hospital, the old blacksmith shop, the Confectionary, city hall, the hotel and what was once a log cabin.

Gavin said he got interested in history by tagging along with his sister to a summer history class Meeks taught a couple of years ago.

“I love watching the History Channel and learning about how wars were won and the electric bulb was made and the presidents,” he said.

All who finished the course received a mug decorated with the museum’s logo and filled with lollipops.

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