Witness to History: What Are Your COVID-19 Experiences?

This week's prompt

How do cooler temperatures and shorter daylight affect what you are able and willing to do as the pandemic lingers?

Share your thoughts

What others have written

COVID has certainly changed the way we eat in my home. We haven't been inside of a restaurant for 7 months, and we have eaten very sparingly at outdoor dining spaces (probably a total of 5 times or so ...

Katherine from Needham Sep 28, 2020, 3:33PM

COVID has changed the social meaning behind eating and sharing a meal. Although restaurants and indoor dining is now open in my state (Ohio) I am still hesitant to dine inside. A group of friends use ...

Molly, PhD History Ohio Sep 25, 2020, 4:27PM

I cook a lot more at home. Sometimes order takeout. Have not eaten in or outside of a restaurant. Order all groceries and supplies to be delivered to our house.

Retired RN Sep 22, 2020, 9:27PM

Read more

In 1798, founder of the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) Jeremy Belknap realized that the momentous happenings of his lifetime would be tomorrow’s history. He sat down and wrote to Paul Revere and asked him to recount the night of his famous ride. Revere’s response is how we know what happened.

Now it is your turn. Years from now historians will research the impact of the COVID-19 virus in Massachusetts and across the country. In order to have first-person accounts of daily life during this extraordinary time, the MHS invites you to contribute your experience(s) to our collection.

Be a part of the story by:

  • Keeping a journal and donating it to the MHS. It can take the form of an old-fashioned handwritten diary, a Word document, or whatever you prefer. Include photographs if you wish. The important thing is to record your experiences on a daily, weekly, or even intermittent basis. For more information on how to contribute, contact collections@masshist.org.
  • Visiting our COVID-19 web form and contribute your thoughts directly there. We will prompt you each week with new questions to get you started.

Whichever way you choose, your account will become part of the Society’s collection and, more importantly, a piece of the historical record that future historians will need to tell the story of these turbulent days.

Share Your Thoughts

The MHS welcomes contributions from students!

As a teacher/educator, you can submit these contributions in two ways.

  • Combine your students’ contributions and submit them together as one file (attach a Word document, PDF, or JPEG; type or paste directly into the contribution box; or mail a paper copy to the MHS).  If you choose this option, student names must remain anonymous and there must be no additional information that identifies the minor, including address and social media handle. No photographs of minors can be accepted. 
  • Send your students and/or parents to our online form and ask them to follow the instructions for contributions from minors.

Diaries in the MHS Collection

See below for examples from the MHS's collection of the ways people documented their daily lives. Follow them through momentous occasions, disasters, and everyday occurrences.

Sarah Gooll Putnam Diaries, 1860-1912

This collection consists of diaries kept by portrait painter Sarah G. Putnam from the age of 9 until near her death at the age of 61. The diaries document her career as a portrait painter and her extensive travels.

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William P. Wharton Diaries, 1910-1939

This collection consists of 30 diaries of farmer and conservationist William P. Wharton, kept primarily at his farm (Fiveoaks Farm) in Groton, Mass. This particular page (vol. 29) outlines Wharton's experiences during the Great New England Hurricane of 1938.

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Selected blog posts

 

Need help? please email collections staff.