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Museum wants to make COVID-19 part of local history exhibit

The Pandemic of 2020 is going down in history. Literally. The Johnson County (Kan.) Museum has a plan to enshrine evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on society and they need the public’s help.

The museum stated in a press release that it “wants to capture this period in the county’s history in its collection and exhibits.”

To accomplish that, the museum has launched an online effort where the public is encouraged to reflect on and share their COVID-19 experience.  They’ve created a digital form that you can fill out online.

“This strange period of ‘sheltering in place’ and “social distancing” will be something always remembered,” the museum asks.  “What are the things that define the period in which we are living and that can accurately be reported to later generations? What objects signify this era? Home-made medical masks and signage are examples, but what else symbolizes this time for Johnson County and the region? What physically represents this time for individuals? The museum is collecting items, photographs, and documents that capture the essence of what this pandemic has meant to families, businesses, and the community.”

Residents from around the region are encouraged to visit JCPRD.com/collecting to complete the online form providing name, contact information, and description of their story, photograph, and/or object. The form includes prompts that ask participants to share what they miss and appreciate during the COVID-19 crisis, what their new “normal” looks like, the impact on schooling and businesses, and what objects define this time for them.

Museum staff will contact those that submitted forms, after the museum reopens to the public, to follow up and to review the objects or photos before accepting them into the collection.

For those who are not yet ready to share or need time to reflect, the museum encourages they take time and write down thoughts as they experience them. It will be a valuable resource for their future selves, and they might consider sharing their memories with the museum later.

“This is not the first world pandemic, of course, but it is the first widespread outbreak of this lifetime,” the museum says.  “It is a period that will define the time and redefine lives. With the community’s help, the museum can make sure this historic moment is captured for future generations.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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