Over the past few weeks, it’s been fascinating to watch the growth of community archiving efforts to document COVID-19 and its impact on our communities. There are a multiple local, regional and national efforts underway with new projects popping up every few days. Here are a few Wisconsin-based “rapid response collecting” activities:
- The Wisconsin Historical Society is calling on citizens to collect this history as it happens through their Covid-19 Journal Project.
- Telling Your Story: Documenting Covid-19 is Manitowoc County Historical Society’s effort to collect voices, stories and images that document how COVID-19 affected their community.
- At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Assistant Professor of Public and Digital History Christopher D. Cantwell is leading a project to document how the Milwaukee area experienced the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020: COVID-19 MKE: A Milwaukee Coronavirus Digital Archive.
- La Crosse Public Library Archives is harnessing the power and reach of social media to gather stories. Documenting Community Voices uses Facebook and a Google form to solicit stories that document how this ongoing public health crisis has impacted the La Crosse community and beyond.
A few other regional and national projects of interest include Indiana University/Purdue University (IUPUI)’s COVID-19 Oral History Project, Missouri Historical Society’s: Stories of the Pandemic: A St. Louis COVID-19 Digital Archive, and Vermont Folklife Center’s Listening in Place Project.
For those of you interested in pursuing a similar project, the Society of American Archivists’ Documenting in Times of Crisis: A Resource Kit provides templates and documents to assist you in collecting materials amid unprecedented and unanticipated situations.
Are you contemplating or working on something similar? Let us know! We’d love to follow and share your work.
Stay safe and take care of each other!