Sask. historians want your COVID-19 pandemic experiences for archive project
SASKATOON -- Historians at the University of Saskatchewan want to make sure the personal stories of the COVID-19 pandemic don’t get missed.
They’re collecting photos, videos and journal entries to preserve this moment in time — from stockpiling toilet paper, to working from home, to wearing a mask.
Jim Clifford, an associate professor of history and co-director of the COVID-19 Community Archive Project, said records of personal stories were largely missed in the 1918 Spanish Flu archive.
“Historians in the future are going to want to understand this moment,” Clifford said.
“They’re going to want to look at the public policy, the science and the health, all the decisions that were made — but they’re also really going to need to understand how normal people experienced this event.”
The COVID-19 Community Archive Project has collected an array of personal stories — from bike shop owners who saw a spike in sales, to seniors battling loneliness at care homes.
“These are the kinds of things that we don't necessarily have captured in the historical record regularly. It takes attention,” said Erika Dyck, Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine.
The archive includes photos of an empty downtown Saskatoon and a vlog from two teenaged girls called the Carona Diaries.
“We wanted to kind of get this variety of perspectives,” Dyck told CTV News.
“Some things are actually been positive. It reminds us of the humanity that we all feel towards one another, even though we're often isolated in our Zoom boxes.”
People can submit their personal pandemic stories on the university’s COVID-19 Community Archive page.