Michigan History Center begins collecting stories, searching for objects to document coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Center asks for residents to share stories

Tobi Voigt, Michigan History Center engagement director, sews face masks for a Lansing area informal network of sewers that distributes masks to hospitals, law enforcement, nursing homes, and other organizations and individuals working on the front lines. (Michigan History Center)

DETROIT – The Michigan History Center announced Friday that is collecting stories, objects and documents related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"There is no question that the coronavirus emergency that is so deeply affecting all our lives is a significant history-making time. That’s why the Michigan History Center is launching this collecting project now,” said Sandra Clark, the center director. “We hope, too, that the shared experiences will strengthen our state’s sense of community and reduce feelings of isolation.”

The first phase involves collecting stories. The center is asking people to submit stories about their experience during this time, including how they are communicating with their loved ones, steps they are taking to protect themselves, and things that have brought them joy.

You can submit your story here.

The second phase involves collecting objects and documents, such as homemade masks, 3D printed face shields, signs from stores and hospital signs and badges.

The goal is to gather objects that represent life before, during and after the pandemic.

Right now, the center is identifying objects that could be used. The items will be obtained once it is safe to do so.

If you have an item you would like to donate, complete the Artifact Donation Information form and email it to DNR-MHC-MuseumCollections@Michigan.gov.

The third phase will include the long-term collection of stories through interviews, memoirs and other materials created as people reflect on what happened.

This may include audio recordings of how a family is dealing with social distancing rules, journal entries written by Michiganders and photos of digital gatherings.

To donate an item, complete the Archives Donation Information form and email it to Archives@Michigan.gov.