A clan of shooter players has rallied an effort around a museum dedicated to the people they fight as in games. Easy Company 506th PIR (opens in new tab) is a tactical shooter and historical game clan dedicated to commemorating the history of the American 101st Airborne in World War 2. Nicholas Collins, known online as Winter5427, is a leader of the group.
"One of our members came to us about this airborne museum," he said. Hotel Hartenstein in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, is a museum commemorating the efforts of Allied paratroopers in World War 2's Operation Market Garden. The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the museum badly. "They're out €300,000."
That's when the gamers of Easy decided they could help. They set up a GoFundMe (opens in new tab) which quickly beat its initial goal of €2,000. They set a new goal of €5,000, and now the developers of several World War 2 games, as well as other tactical shooter clans, have gotten involved. Collins is enthused by the success.
"We weren't expecting to raise this much money this quickly, we thought it was going to stay small," he said.
"I thought this was just going to be an us thing, an Easy thing, I didn't expect all these clans and developers and communities to get involved. It would be too long of a list to list them all."
They've already undertaken a large fundraising effort for a community based around niche shooters, and now others can jump in to help. They're doing a 24-hour Twitch livestream (opens in new tab) to raise awareness with games, materials from the museum, interviews with the museum curators, and an interview with a World War 2 veteran. During the Stream they'll give away a game key for Hell let Loose (opens in new tab) and Post Scriptum (opens in new tab) every hour.
"We'll be doing showings of history that's in the museum, so even if you can't go there you can see it anyways," Collins said.
You can also contribute to a GoFundMe campaign (opens in new tab) raising money for the museum in the name of gamers everywhere. Easy has also partnered with Hell Let Loose developer Black Matter and Post Scriptum developer Periscope Games, as well as a number of other tactical shooter clans and community groups, to run events in games this weekend. You can sign up for those on their website. (opens in new tab) There's also a charity auction for the last existing Post Scriptum developer hoodie. (opens in new tab)
As part of the effort, the developers of Post Scriptum also revamped the model of the Hotel building in the game and added some graffiti scrawled by a real soldier on the hotel walls. You can view that at the top of the article.
The Airborne museum at Hartenstein is in trouble because of a particular confluence of COVID-19 and a long-planned remodel: "COVID comes along, and now they have to shut down after their remodelling is just completed," Collins explained. The majority of the museum's revenue comes from tickets sold, and because of the pandemic, the number of tickets sold, and thus their revenue, is down by at least €300,000 (opens in new tab), according to the museum website.
The Airborne museum building was the headquarters for the British 1st Airborne during the battle of Arnhem, and makes an appearance in the movie A Bridge Too Far. It's also a place that's close to home for lovers of history, like the gamers of Easy. The British 1st Airborne are in many ways a counterpart to their own beloved 101st Airborne. "Even though we're Easy 506th, we are trying to commemorate them and their history," Collins said. "We try to commemorate the warriors of World War 2."
I can think of no more fitting way to honor that history than to help save the museum that documents it. Here's hoping they succeed. Again, you can chip in at this GoFundMe (opens in new tab) and support it at this Twitch livestream (opens in new tab), and you can support the airborne museum directly at its website. (opens in new tab)