By Erica Hague
We are living through historic times—times that we need your help to document.
At Atlanta History Center, it is our mission to preserve and interpret the history of the greater Atlanta area for future generations—and we’re reaching out to you for help. Atlanta History Center is collecting materials that illustrate how people are experiencing and responding to all aspects of life in Atlanta during the COVID-19 crisis.
Over the past few weeks, our world has changed rapidly as we all adapt to the measures to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though you may not realize it, you’re already documenting this time of constant change. The pandemic has changed the ways in which we work, shop, gather, worship, and demonstrate. You create the historic record when you take a photo of something that makes you feel more connected while self-isolating. Maybe you’ve seen a sign, received an email, or in some other way have connected with the rapidly changing world in the wake of Coronavirus. Perhaps it was the empty toilet paper aisle at Kroger, a furlough notice, the cancellation of a planned trip, emails from your child’s school, or a note to an at-risk loved one. Maybe it’s the receipt for a donation you made to support a local small business or essential employee. Perhaps it is a handmade sign or protest banner.
What is recorded is what we remember, so in the coming weeks, we hope that when you take a photo or video, create a social media post, grocery list, lesson plan, letter, etc. that you will share it with us via our online donation form so that we can document this time for future generations to remember and research. If you have physical materials to donate, please reach out; however, please be aware that we will not be able to pick up items until after the stay-at-home order in Georgia has been lifted.
If you’re having a hard time thinking of things that you or your family might be able to contribute, here are some topics to kickstart your brainstorming:
Medical Professionals: How has your work changed? What are your concerns for yourself and your family? What innovations have you seen or worked with?
Service & Safety Personnel: How have your work procedures and practices shifted? How are you staying safe? Have you received support from your community?
Civic Participants: Did participating in the election look different for you this year? Did you complete a mail-in ballot, or did you line up at a polling station? Did you complete the census online? Have you participated in a march or rally? Did you make a sign for a public demonstration?
Local Businesses: How have you changed your offerings? How has your business changed? What support are you getting? How will this impact you long term?
Education: Teachers and students, how have you changed how your approach learning? What are your struggles/triumphs? How are you dealing with this change to your learning community? How did your school, college, or university respond?
Leisure & Recreation: How are you handling social interactions during this time? Have you learned a new skill or hobby? What have you spent your leisure time on?
Neighbors: How are your neighbors supporting each other? What changes have been made to current social offerings? Have your relationships with your neighbors changed?
Caregivers: How has your work changed? What resources have been made available to you?
Travel: Have you had a trip cancelled or changed? How are your future travel plans changing? Have you traveled during the outbreak? What changes have you seen in the travel sector?
Home & Garden: What changes to your home or garden have happened during this time? How are you using your extra time at home? What have you learned about yourself?
Pregnancy & Child Care: How has your day-to-day changed? How has your partner supported you? Are you homeschooling?
Recipes, Cooking, & Food Delivery: How are you chowing down? Have you taken this opportunity to hone kitchen skills? What food services are you supporting? How has your relationship to food changed?
We encourage you to look through your photos, screenshots, emails, social feeds, and media posts from the past few weeks to share what you might have already captured—and to continue to share these types of materials in the weeks to come.
Since launching Corona Collective on April 7, we’ve had the privilege to be invited into the lives of over 130 individuals across the greater Atlanta area. From selfies to sidewalk chalk to scrubs, we're here for all of it. We’ve heard about your fears, your hopes, and your struggle to adjust to the new abnormal; and we have been moved by your moments of shared joy and encouragements to continue living life to the fullest—six feet apart.
To thank those who have already donated and to encourage others to participate, we’ve gathered a few stand-out submissions from the past month. We hope they inspire you to share your stories for future generations.
The Kenan Research Center staff at Atlanta History Center thanks everyone who has shared these moments with us, and we encourage people around Atlanta to continue donating photos, videos, audio recording, journal entries, and other digital media through our online submission form. Donors may remain anonymous if they choose. All content will be accessible through our digital collections portal, ALBUM, once they are reviewed and approved by our collections staff.
While we are unable to accept physical donations at this time, please contact us at email@example.com, so that we can collect them once we are able to do so safely.
We look forward to releasing an oral history component of this project later this summer and hope you will consider participating in a virtual COVID-19 Conversation with one of our staff members, a friend, or family member.