By Michael Corlett
Novato History Guild
What do you want future generations to know about your life in 2020?
It has been over five months since Marin’s first shelter-in- place order was issued, and as we know, it has affected nearly all aspects of our daily lives. We have added new words and phrases to our everyday vocabulary: Flattening the curve, shelter in place, social distancing, drive-through testing, zoom meeting, virtual happy hours, and Covidiots.
When we step out of the house, we wear a mask, avoid large crowds and social distance. Elbow bumps have replaced hugs.
In April, Novato History Museum manager, Susan Magnone, began documenting how COVID-19 has affected the day to day life of Novato residents.
“We knew this was a major historical event. We wanted to collect and preserve artifacts and documents, but we also wanted to engage our community,” Magnone said.
A Novato Historical Guild COVID-19 committee was formed to make the collection process happen.
The Guild is now reaching out to the Novato residents and businesses, asking you to write in about your life while sheltering in place. What did you do, what did you change, what was difficult and what was funny? Share with us your photos that show what life is like during this time.
Museums around the world, large and small, are similarly striving to document COVID-19 for future generations.
Technology has added significantly to our ability to record this watershed moment in our history. In addition to the usual collecting of artifacts and documents, now oral histories, videos, phone cameras, and social media posts can be easily preserved in the cloud.
The Center for Disease Control Museum (CDCM) in Atlanta is using photojournalists and CDC staffers in gathering artifacts, documents, and first-person testimonials from around the country.
The Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre in Alberta, Canada, is working on a project documenting the pandemic “in real-time,” according to their website. Staff at that museum are asking people to keep daily journals or to write letters to “their future selves or loved ones.”
Museums typically are looking back to give us glimpses of the past.
Currently, they are looking forward to providing future historians information on how we lived our lives during the Great Pandemic of 2020. Magnone says, “it is a gift we can give to future generations.”
The Novato Historical Guild collection process is on-going. If you would like to share your experiences, photos, or if you have questions, go to firstname.lastname@example.org