All-night scavenger hunt at the NY Public Library!

This is so cool that calling it so cool doesn’t do it justice. Just when you think “okay, it couldn’t possibly get any cooler than this,” it gets even cooler.

On May 20, 2011, five hundred pre-registered people will get to spend the whole night in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library, the newly restored 1911 Beaux Arts masterpiece that was supposed to be the glamorous venue for Carrie Bradshaw’s aborted wedding to Mr. Big and is the main branch of the NYPL system. From dusk until dawn (8 PM to 6 AM), players will explore 70 miles of stacks, including 40 miles of underground stacks that are normally closed to the public, and use their laptops and smartphones to find historical objects from the NYPL’s collection that have been secreted all over the library.

Among the historical objects are a copy of the Declaration of Independence written in Thomas Jefferson’s hand, an ancient menu, and Charles Dickens’ letter opener whose handle was made from the taxidermified paw of his beloved cat Bob. Players will be divided into teams of eight. They will be sent on quests to find specific objects via their smartphones. Once they find an item, they use a custom designed iPhone/Android app to scan its QR code on their phones to prove they’ve found it.

That would be cool enough right there, but wait, there’s more! The scavenger hunt is part of a game called “Find the Future.” Every time players find an object, they’ll be assigned a writing task inspired by the item. For instance, when they find Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, they’ll be asked how they would write a few sections of a Declaration of Independence today. Then, at the end of the night, all 500 players will combine their writings to create a collaborative book which will be published and added to the Library’s book collection! That’s how the game is won.

Can you even stand that?! There are so many levels of nerd paradise here that I can’t even stand it.

Here’s another level: The game is designed by Jane McGonical, whose brilliant TED talk on how video games can help build a better world provided invaluable input to my essay on how to make history appeal to these gaming kids today. In a Q&A about her work and “Find the Future,” she describes her wonderfully immodest aim thusly:

The game is designed to empower young people to find their own futures by bringing them face-to-face with the writings and objects of people who made an extraordinary difference. Like every game I make, it has one goal: to turn players into superempowered, hopeful individuals with real skills and ideas to help them change the world.

It won’t just be the lucky 500 who get to play. On May 21st, once the quests have been completed and all the essays uploaded to the game’s website, the game will be unlocked, people in New York will be able to play at all NYPL locations, and all the rest of us schmoes will get to play online and create our own book of answers.

If you’re 18 and older, and in New York or plan to make your way there at the end of May, submit your entry by April 21st. Entries must be no more than 140 characters in reply to the question “In the year 2021, I will become the first person to ______.” The 500 players will be selected from all the entrants by a panel of judges.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HjjMv4LvbM&w=430]

Share

RSS feed

10 Comments »

Comment by edahstip
2011-04-01 20:38:57

I think it would be more fun to play hide and seek in there with the lights off. :skull:

 
Comment by livius drusus
2011-04-01 20:46:29

Naughty, naughty. I’m sure people play hide and seek in there with the lights off allll the time.

 
Comment by Hels
2011-04-01 21:18:53

Brilliant idea!

You say “nerd paradise” as if it is a derogatory term. For those of us who find most Hollywood films inane, computer games absurd and men’s professional sport way too violent, a library-based scavenger hunt and the Find the Future task both sound spot on!

If I was in the USA and was lucky enough to be included, my only problem would be that the newly restored 1911 Beaux Arts architecture might divert my attention.

 
Comment by livius drusus
2011-04-01 22:01:20

Oh it’s definitely not derogatory. Not when I say it, anyway. Getting locked in a gorgeous period building full of books overnight alone is one of my most beloved dreams. :love:

 
Comment by edahstip
2011-04-01 22:03:31

That’s because you haven’t seen Ghostbusters

 
Comment by livius drusus
2011-04-01 22:05:28

Stop hounding me about it!11

 
Comment by edahstip
2011-04-01 22:31:18

It’s for your own good. :p

 
Comment by Hels
2011-04-02 00:48:40

I would rather have my wisdom teeth pulled out… with a metal nailfile…without anaesthetic :)

 
Comment by Edward Goldberg
2011-04-02 03:42:59

“Che bel “pesce d’aprile” (April Fools’ Joke)! Here’s another:

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/63641/new-revelation-upends-kosher-laws/

But wait a second?! The “Find the Future” link actually works?! And all of the supporting web info seems to be there at an apparent NYPL site… So, either this is for real or you outdid yourself burying red herrings. Did you also write the “Hitler Diaries”?

The response to this event will presumably reveal a stark divide in the human race. There are those who will take to their beds with attacks of the vapors at the transcendent awesomeness of it all. And there are those who will say, “Ma, è anche un lavoro pagato, giusto?” (“You get paid for doing it, right?”)

 
Comment by livius drusus
2011-04-02 04:18:30

“Che bel “pesce d’aprile” (April Fools’ Joke)! Here’s another:

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/63641/new-revelation-upends-kosher-laws/

Yesterday I saw some guy who won a season of Top Chef make bacon-wrapped matzoh balls. Coincidence, or just two things happening at the same time?

But wait a second?! The “Find the Future” link actually works?! And all of the supporting web info seems to be there at an apparent NYPL site… So, either this is for real or you outdid yourself burying red herrings. Did you also write the “Hitler Diaries”?

Nevar! But I may or may not have had a hand in the recently-discovered secret Margaret Mead diaries.

The response to this event will presumably reveal a stark divide in the human race. There are those who will take to their beds with attacks of the vapors at the transcendent awesomeness of it all. And there are those who will say, “Ma, è anche un lavoro pagato, giusto?” (“You get paid for doing it, right?”)

And the former shall gorge upon the gooey venal brains of the latter until all that remains in the world is awesomeness and overnights at the NYPL.

 
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI

;) :yes: :thanks: :skull: :shifty: :p :ohnoes: :notworthy: :no: :love: :lol: :hattip: :giggle: :facepalm: :evil: :eek: :cry: :cool: :confused: :chicken: :boogie: :blush: :blankstare: :angry: :D :) :(

Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Navigation

Search

Archives

June 2019
S M T W T F S
« May    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Other

Add to Technorati Favorites

Syndication