How’s It Going? The Missouri Historical Society Want to Hear Your COVID-19 Perspective
We think of our city as resilient because we know St. Louis has faced all manner of singular circumstances and transformational challenges while still managing to stand shoulders back, chin up through the decades—and with an unmistakable St. Louis style, of course.
The current public health crisis spurred by the spread of COVID-19 is a similar moment. It’s an unprecedented challenge in our lifetimes, one that will go down in history not unlike many of the landmark events and eras that have marked both the St. Louis region and the country for generations to come.
But no matter how strange and precarious the times or bizarre our day-to-day lives certainly feel, it’s impossible to fully grasp the weight of this period as we experience it. Here, the Missouri Historical Society has lent its own expertise to offer a way for St. Louisans to individually document, collect, share, and preserve now so that all of us might be able to reference our current lived experiences more accurately in the future.
The Missouri Historical Society, the organizational body behind the Missouri History Museum, the MHS Library & Research Center and Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, has launched a new initiative titled “Stories of the Pandemic: A St. Louis COVID-19 Digital Archive.” The MHS invites community members to submit written stories and anecdotes or upload a photo or video about the experiences and reactions to the current pandemic. Submissions can be shared through an online form.
Submissions can include things like images of your favorite restaurant or business storefront announcing their closure; funny or uplifting anecdotes about neighbors supporting each other; frustrating or hopeful experiences with the healthcare system; or stories about adjusting to a new normal of self-isolation, social distancing and restricted human contact.
It’s worth noting, too, that the contribution you share isn’t required to be an overwhelmingly positive one. Though we all appreciate inspiriting content, digital archives are informal collections that help tell the truth of a particular era or event—and that truth isn’t always a positive one. The MHS’s digital archive relies on a range of experiences and perspectives to grow the collection, and at the end of the day, we’re all just humans trying to figure all of this out together, right?
The Missouri Historical Society plans to curate community contributes and share them through their social media platforms and other digital channels, in addition to considering select pieces for its permanent collections. The staff also hopes to gather physical objects in the future as part of the initiative’s archival process and asks that St. Louisans consider saving objects that might be useful for the archive so they can collect them once in-person meetings and interactions are permissible again.
For more information on the Stories of the Pandemic: A St. Louis COVID-19 Digital Archive, please visit the Missouri Historical Society’s website.