The Brooklyn Historical Society is actively collecting material related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is impacting daily life in ways no one could predict. The organization is asking for all of our help.
The goal is to document and preserve the collective experiences of our community during the crisis, including the health, economic, social, political, and religious impacts of COVID-19 on our borough, building a collection that reflects the many ways Brooklynites were impacted by, and responded to, this crisis.
“Most of the people who have submitted items to our collection have also included stories about living life in Brooklyn during COVID-19. While no one has written about deciding to leave Brooklyn, we have received stories from people who are teachers, healthcare workers, at risk seniors, parents, grandparents, and lawyers,” said Amy Lau, the archivist at BHS overseeing this collection in an email interview. “Some of our donors have written about how they have lost relatives and friends to the virus. Other donors have written about their fears for their children and grandchildren’s futures. Still others have written about working from home and canceling wedding plans because of the virus.”
Submissions will be reviewed by BHS Collections staff, and may be added to the permanent collections and shared on social media. A Gmail email address is required to share uploads through the online submission. If you do not have a Gmail email address but would like to submit material to the collection, please contact BHS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTRIBUTING PHYSICAL ITEMS
BHS cannot accept physical objects at this time, but will begin collecting when BHS reopens to the public. To submit objects for consideration, please email a photo of the object (or a group of objects) and a brief description to email@example.com.
Items that BHS is interested in include:
- Artistic reflections (e.g. rainbow artwork)
- Business and restaurant signage about closures, fundraising initiatives, social distancing measures, and amended menus
- Government issued posters, reports, and decrees concerning public health and safety
- Grocery store lists and receipts
- Housing-related material, such as rent abatements, strikes and eviction notices
- Local and mutual aid organizations’ flyers, newsletters, mass mailings, records, and reports
- Lesson plans and other educational material related to remote learning and homeschooling
- Personal correspondence and journals
- Photographs of closed businesses, hospitals and temporary medical facilities, social distancing, homeschooling, and religious activity
- Video and audio diaries, journal entries, and reflections
Brooklyn Historical Society has been a cultural hub for civic dialogue and community outreach since 1863.
Located in Brooklyn Heights and housed in a magnificent landmark building designed by George Browne Post, with a second location at Empire Stores in DUMBO, Brooklyn Historical Society has a long history of thoughtful engagement and community outreach. Brooklyn Historical Society is one of the few remaining examples of an institutional model common in the nineteenth century: the combined museum and library.