Gamers step up to save WWII Airborne museum

Jack Murphy
June 29, 2020 - 1:10 pm
Liberation of Holland

Jack Esten / Stringer

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The museum of Allied Airborne troops who served in World War II has fallen on tough times due to a recent remodeling coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hartenstein hotel served as a headquarters for British troops and has since been converted into a museum. Located in the Netherlands, the museum features life-size replicas, displays, dioramas and authentic uniforms and weapons used during the war.

The museum includes the "Airborne experience," a form of interactive experience in which children can see and feel what it was like to be an Airborne troop during the war.

"In the Airborne Experience, you will follow in the footsteps of a British parachutist. You are briefed on the mission and board a glider. Through its windows you can see it takes off from England and flies to the occupied Netherlands," the museum website says.

However, the Hartenstein museum just completed an expensive remodeling and now is unable to recoup costs incurred because the pandemic has prohibited its reopening -- no visitors means no ticket revenue. 

That's where World War II video gaming enthusiasts "jumped in," if you will.

Easy Company 506th PIR is a video game clan, or a team of players, that set up a GoFundMe campaign to help support the museum and quickly found people donating far beyond their initial expectations.

Currently, the campaign has raised 10,000 euros. 

"We weren't expecting to raise this much money this quickly, we thought it was going to stay small," clan leader Nicholas Collins told PC Gamer. Since then, it isn't just players getting involved but also the game developers themselves. 

One developer got involved in the effort by revising their in-game model of the Hartenstein hotel by adding graffiti written on the wall by a British soldier during the war. It reads, "Never surrender. Fuck the Gerry's."

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.