March 11, 2021
One day, the pandemic will be history. How will you remember it?
Museums are deciding that now. Many are collecting items. They are looking for ordinary things. These include hand sanitizer and grocery lists. Historians will one day study these items. They’ll learn how we experienced the pandemic.
The Autry Museum of the American West is in Los Angeles, California. In April 2020, it put out a call. It asked for face masks and family recipes. It also asked for stories.
Brighid Pulskamp donated face masks. She has made hundreds of them. She made them for the people of the Navajo Nation. The tribe lives in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. “Our people are resilient ,” Pulskamp told TIME for Kids. She wants us to remember how the Navajo handled the pandemic.
The Vesthimmerlands Museum is in Denmark. Maria Hagstrup is its curator . She has been taking photographs. Some show empty streets. Others show people. Some are standing apart. Some are separated by a window.
Museums are now collecting mostly photographs. They will gather other items when it’s safe. These might include medical equipment and handwashing signs.
Museums are counting on us. They want us to share our everyday things. Aaron Bryant is a curator. He works at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It’s in Washington, D.C. “History is made by ordinary people and their everyday lives,” Bryant says. He thinks that ordinary things “can reflect history in an important way."
What’s Your Story?
How has your life changed during the pandemic? Historians want to know. How are you spending your time? What challenges do you face? What brings you joy?
Check the historical societies in your area. Check museums, too. They usually have websites. Maybe you can submit your story. Maybe you can submit pictures. You could take pictures of objects related to the pandemic. These could be art projects. They could even be grocery lists.