D.C. Historical Society invites residents to document COVID-19 experiences

An organization focused on recording local history is asking D.C. residents to document their experiences during the stay-at-home order issued by Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., which formed in 1894, launched a project earlier this month to capture daily life in the District during the COVID-19 pandemic called “In Real Time,” WAMU reported Friday. Residents are invited to submit photographs and journal entries to contribute to the documentation of “the stuff of history,” like D.C. residents did a hundred years ago during the Spanish influenza outbreak, according to the society’s website.

Anne McDonough – the historical society’s library and collections director – told WAMU that modern technology allows people to share their experiences “widely” over social media, but those records are less permanent than most people expect. Technology and social media platforms quickly change and become obsolete, WAMU reported.

“There will always be official records,” McDonough told WAMU. “But the thoughts and the responses and the impact on everyday, local people, if it is not actively collected, unfortunately, that will go by the wayside.”

Residents can participate by taking brief surveys to share their local experiences, accessible through the society’s website. Society members are also encouraging residents to gather “physical materials,” like empty labeled bottles or homemade personal masks, to donate after the pandemic ends to reflect the “current reality.”

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