Historical Society documents pandemic through eyes and ears of Vermonters

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MONTPELIER — As the COVID-19 pandemic in Vermont is unfolding the Vermont Historical Society is collecting images and stories of this unprecedented event.

Yesterday, the organization launched a website to collect photographs and stories from Vermonters who are experiencing this historic event.

The COVID-19 Archive: Images and Stories from Vermont, employ digital technology and crowdsourcing to provide future researchers with a resource to study the impact the coronavirus had on the lives of Vermonters.

For nearly two centuries, the Vermont Historical Society (VHS), has collected and recorded the lives of Vermonters through the preservation of objects, images, and archives.

With the new COVID-19 Archive, visitors can submit their own narratives about living through coronavirus in the form of photos, stories, poems, short videos, documents and more.

For people interested in creating voice recordings of their experiences, the VHS is partnering with the Vermont Folklife Center and their Listening in Place oral history project.

Vermonters have found themselves in a new world practically overnight, with many experiencing job loss, complicated emotions, unrecognizable daily routines, and a host of other difficulties and challenges.

They are reacting in every imaginable way, as they have throughout history.

Submissions to Vermont’s COVID-19 Archive will capture the ways in which communities have changed, from images of empty streets and store shelves to new and creative ways Vermonters are passing the time.

“Documenting this moment in history is an important part of our work,” said VHS Librarian Paul Carnahan. “People in the future are going to want to know how their predecessors handled this crisis. We are giving Vermonters an opportunity to create a historical record as this pandemic develops.”

In addition to documenting COVID-19, VHS is sharing a digital database of materials in its collection from the1918 Influenza pandemic in Vermont, the closest historical event to the present pandemic.

You can find COVID-19 Archive: Images and Stories from Vermont here:

You can visit Listening in Place here: