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Resources > Documenting the pandemic

How LAMs are documenting the pandemic: Resource roundup

As collecting institutions, libraries, archives and museums have the distinct challenge of trying to preserve and share history while it is happening. The pandemic has shaped every aspect of operations, including collecting policies and procedures. From audio stories to physical objects, these examples illustrate the many ways that artifacts from the pandemic are being collected and will be remembered.

Note: These examples may have changed since being reviewed. Last accessed July 15, 2021; new items marked with "NEW."

NEW: “A Small Museum’s Rapid Response Collecting Project for COVID-19,” from the American Alliance of Museums, published April 2020: Article examining quick changes in collecting practice at a small institution to capture a crisis as it happens.

NEW: “CONTENTdm Community Insights – Collecting Stories from the Pandemic,” from OCLC, presented May 2020: Webinar covering different libraries’ approaches to building pandemic-related collections with their communities.

Arlington Heights COVID-19 Story Project,” from Arlington Heights Memorial Library: Library collecting digital pandemic stories from local people.

What the Museum of 2020 May Look Like,” from Curbed, published April 15, 2021: Article about how museums in New York are collecting materials that will document the pandemic.

The Smithsonian Is Collecting Coronavirus ‘Artifacts’ To Document The Pandemic,” from NPR, published May 20, 2020: Article documenting the thought process behind collecting pandemic materials.

Chronicling COVID-19,” from The Buffalo History Museum: One museum’s multi-modal approach to collecting local pandemic stories, including digital postcards, survey responses, photos, and physical journals.

Library of Congress Builds New Collections Documenting COVID-19 Pandemic,” from United States Library of Congress, published March 2, 2021: Press release documenting the various materials being added to the Library of Congress’ new COVID-19 collection.

Documenting the Pandemic: Libraries Launch COVID-19 Archival Projects,” from Library Journal, published April 28, 2020: Article about libraries and archives collaborating to collect pandemic materials.


Image: Arlington Heights Memorial Library website