Inside JCPRD: Collecting COVID-19

If you have ever wondered what it might be like to live through a truly historic moment, here we are. This is not the first world pandemic, of course, but it is the first widespread outbreak in any of our lifetimes. This strange period of “sheltering in place” and “social distancing” will be something we always remember. It is a period that will define our time and redefine our lives. That is why the Johnson County Museum needs your help!

We want to reflect this period in the county’s history in our collection and exhibits. We want to, for lack of a better term, collect COVID-19. It is difficult to think about what types of things define the period in which we are living and that can accurately report to later generations what we are now living through. What objects signify this era? Possibly home-made medical masks, and signage will play an important role—business closed signs, social distancing reminder signs, etc. But what else? What physically represents this time for you? Are there photographs that capture the essence of what this pandemic has meant to you, your family, your business, your community? Documents that you have received?

With your permission, we would like to collect your stories, too. Tell us what this period in your life has made you realize or appreciate. What has become more valuable to you? What do you miss? What do you plan to do once the shelter in place order has lifted? How are you staying sane? What are you worried about (short term and long term)? If you are not ready to share or need time to reflect, take some time and write down your thoughts as you experience them. It will be a valuable resource for you, and you might consider sharing with us later.

To share your story now, please visit our website: www.jcprd.com/COVID19CollectingInitiative. Complete the online form providing your name, contact information, and a description of your story, photograph, and/or object. We will reach out to you once we reopen to the public to ask some questions, and to review your objects or photos before accepting them into the collection.

With your help, we can make sure that this historic moment is captured for the record!

-The Johnson County Museum