This week is Preservation Week, and the best time to preserve history is while it’s happening. The Wyoming State Archives and State Museum, the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center (AHC), and Wyoming State Historical Society are working together to encourage you to consider how you would tell future historians about your experiences and memories of this unusual time.
Do you keep a journal or a blog? Have you created your own mask for making essential trips outdoors? Are you creating artworks or craft projects to commemorate or pass the time? Are you talking on Facebook or Instagram with your friends about how this pandemic has affected your life? Preserving those memories are all ways that you can remember this time for yourself and give future historians clues about how we coped, how we communicated, and how we memed.
If you’re writing down your thoughts, please consider donating a copy to the State Archives or the AHC. If you prefer to reflect on social media, use the hashtag #Covid19WY. If you’ve used your crafting skills to make PPE masks, signs, or documented your feelings visually, the State Museum is interested in hearing from you, and you may see those objects someday in an exhibit about the challenges of life in 2020.
Why is it important to preserve these memories and experiences now? Partly because it is fresh in our minds, and partly because we don’t want Wyoming’s story and the lessons we learn through this crisis to go untold. You may be reading stories about the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Historians learned about this devastating time through personal stories and photographs, as well as official accounts and newspaper articles of the time. Letters, diaries, photos, and artifacts speak volumes about the courage, fear, and community support that people experienced.
For more information or to offer items, contact Kathy Marquis, State Archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jennifer Alexander, Wyoming State Museum Collections at email@example.com, or Sara Davis, University Archivist at the AHC at firstname.lastname@example.org. To send your digital memories directly to the State Archives, visit their website, wyoachives.org and click on the COVID19 donations link.