Share Your Coronavirus Stories; Be Part of History

This coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented time in our lifetimes and now the Washington State Historical Society is hoping that people will help them document it.

Margaret (Maggie) Wetherbee installing artifacts at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles during her tenure as the museum’s collections manager.

Margaret Wetherbee, head of collections, joined the Washington State Historical Society days before the buildings were shut down for safety.

“My first day included developing a remote working plan for the Research Center team,” said Wetherbee. “Now, I’m reaching out to citizens across the state to ask for their participation in documenting this historic event for the Historical Society’s collections. We want to capture what you’re going through right now as it unfolds, because this is an extraordinary time in our history. We will continue to collect as we experience the impacts over the coming years.”

How this state in particular responded to the coronavirus will be notable in history, as it was home to the first-known case in the U.S. and was one of the first hotspots in the country.

“Future Washingtonians will research these days, asking how we coped with the suddenly vacated office buildings, curtailed services, and medical supply shortages. They’ll want to know how this event impacted our lives on a personal level,” the Historical Society’s director, Jennifer Kilmer, said. “Just as we are now looking to the 1918 flu epidemic for insight into our present experience, folks in the future will want to know about our Stay Home/Stay Healthy protocol, and how we managed to come together to help one another.”

You can help by submitting digital photos, audio, and video clips; screenshots of social media memes and posts; or reports, correspondence, observations, and anecdotes. Later, the society also would like to collect objects such as homemade masks, coronavirus closure notices and signs, letters, diaries, and more.

For details, see WashingtonHistory.org /yourCOVID19story.

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is the editor in chief at South Sound magazine.
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