Gallery: Kids discover hidden treasure at the Akin House

Jun 7, 2015

With only a treasure map and cryptic clues to guide them, kids ran around the Elihu Akin House in search of hidden treasure chests.

Members of the Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust hosted a scavenger hunt event Sunday afternoon to raise awareness about the historic property and keep kids engaged with local history.

“We thought the idea of a treasure hunt sounded cool,” said Grace Labossiere, a board member of the group. “We wanted to do something where kids would get to walk around the house, but walk around the grounds as well.”

As families arrived, kids were given paper bags to decorate and store their rewards. Then Labossiere helped the young participants read clues and search for rewards.

The kids unearthed history-themed prizes that related to the Akin House, mostly small charms shaped like boats and hammers.

Robert Barboza, also a board member at the Dartmouth Heritage Preservation Trust, was there to supplement each discovery with a small history lesson on the property and its former inhabitants. For instance, the hammer charm represented carpenter Job Mosher, the man who originally built the house in 1762.

Labossiere said the point of the hunt was to “get the kids in here and educate them about [the house], but have some fun, too.”

Christina Forty, who brought her 7-year-old son, said she was drawn to the event after spending time looking through historic, restored houses in Florida. She was hoping the trip to the Akin House would spark an interest in history for her son as well.

“The coolest part I saw in the house was the part where the pot hangs,” said Myles Rychebusch, 5, referring to the fireplace in the main room of the ground floor.

“The part where we ran down there — that was so cool,” said Yadiel Mendez, 8, referring to the clue that tasked the children with counting the number of windows on the house then taking that number of steps toward the shed out back.

Mendez said he enjoyed working with the other children to solve the puzzles and that the tour of the house, which followed the scavenger hunt, was fun too.

“The house is special,” said Mendez. The house is pretty old, but when they remake it, I think it’s going to get better.

Restoration on the house is ongoing. The next phase of construction will begin this year and is scheduled to end sometime in 2016.