How your coronavirus experiences can become part of the historical record
The coronavirus outbreak and its impacts have been described as “historic.” Local historians are trying to capture this history as it is made.
The Delaware Historical Society recognizes the significance of the current moment.
“The ability to gather has been taken away from us,” said Delaware Historical Society Executive Director David Young. “The ability to go to sporting events or concerts, or to celebrate holidays, or even mourn people who have passed away together—we're not able to do that because of this very historic series of events that have all changed very rapidly.”
The Delaware Historical Society’s new online project, COVID Chronicles, aims to capture this history through photographs, writing, videos or recordings submitted by residents.
“In the future, what will people need to know about what Delawareans are going through today in this ... major health crisis that has been an enormous disruption in all of our lives?” said Young.
According to the Delaware Historical Society’s website, appropriate topics for COVID Chronicles submissions include an object, a new daily routine, a "good thing" that happened, or virtual meetups.
“It could be things like how you're going to the store or your zoom meetings or communicating with grandparents by FaceTime,” said Young. “Is there a way that you're recording these? Or if you're seeing signs and photographing them ... these are things that mark our time.”
A participant can make multiple submissions to the project as the situation changes.
“Just about everybody's story matters now because with each week that goes by it gets closer and closer to our own personal experience,” said Young. “But those who have been having to make decisions or handle this on the front line, I think will be critical voices to have and we would seek those out if we don't get them.”
Some submissions will be used on a COVID Chronicles blog or could become part of the museum collection.
The Delaware Historical Society is still working on finding a way to include the stories of people without access to computers. Young says the fact that historical society staff cannot accept items in person right now makes that challenging.