The Hastings Museum is asking for public input to help record the history of the current pandemic and how it is affecting of the local community.
Teresa Kreutzer-Hodson, curator of collections, said after the initial period of trying to figure out living and working amid the threat of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, it became apparent this would be an important experience to document.
“We talked about we should start documenting this,” she said. “Then I started thinking about ‘How do you document it?’ It could be journals, it could be letters of cancellation, it could be things about school — just the ways it’s affecting everybody. I think all of it will tell a story down the road for other people who either don’t live it or were too young to really remember. I just started thinking about what that could look like.”
She received feedback from a recently retired gentleman who planned on traveling.
“Obviously, that’s not happening,” she said.
She has a graduating senior herself.
The more feedback the museum receives, the more well-rounded the recordkeeping becomes.
“Because everybody’s perspective is different and they are handling it different and they’re being affected differently,” Kreutzer-Hodson said. “Yeah, everybody’s story is different. Some people are just going with the flow and some people are stressed out.”
The museum also is asking for examples of personal protective equipment, eventually, once the public feels safe enough to part with it.
“Even if they saved an example or had the person they gave it to save the example for later down the road,” she said.
She said all of this is an example of how the community pulled together.
“It would be great to have examples of those, just maybe not right now,” she said.
Preserving these memories and items will help society remember what life was like dealing with the threat of COVID-19.
“I think that’s why it’s important to save it now, because if we don’t save it now it’s going to get forgotten and then it’ll just be, ‘Oh, yeah, that COVID of 2020,’ ” Kreutzer-Hodson said. “That’s why it’s important to save that, so we have that to look back on.”
The museum’s collection period is open-ended.
“I really want to put it in their mind to remember this stuff is important and save it and then when they feel safe and everything’s open then we can talk about getting it in.”
She’s saving Mayor Corey Stutte’s notes to city employees.
“I’m saving that because it’s documenting some of the efforts the city has made,” she said.
Among examples of potential contributions Kreutzer-Hodson mentioned include pictures people take of themselves homeschooling their children.
“It could be really anything,” she said.