Collecting COVID-19 History

Lawn signs are visible all over town

The Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society has been collecting and preserving materials related to the history of the town for over 50 years.

We are now living through a historical event and we hope you can help to capture that history through your stories. People all over the world have had to dramatically alter the way they spend their days, do their work and live their lives. Future generations will be interested in how the people in West Hartford reacted to the suddenly changed world. Personal stories of how the outbreak of Covid-19 and the “Stay home, Stay safe” order in Connecticut will be of interest for years to come.

Shoppers wait in line at the grocery store

As coronavirus lockdown continues and as we all adjust to how we live our lives during the  Covid-19 pandemic it is interesting to understand that a similar situation happened with the pandemic of 1918. Lasting for almost two years, it is estimated that 1/3 of the world’s population became infected with the virus. With no vaccine and no antibiotics to treat infections, attempts to control the spread of the virus included things such as isolation, quarantine, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings. Many of the same efforts we are seeing today occurred like the closing of schools and businesses. Through letters, journals, newspaper clippings and memorabilia from that period we can learn about the impact of this historic event. Help us to preserve similar information for future generations.

As the residents of West Hartford continue to deal with the coronavirus shut down aimed at restricting the spread of the virus, we ask your help to document and preserve the materials and stories that show how you are adjusting to the changes in your daily life. Tell us how it has impacted your job, education, family and experiences. Consider what objects and material will help to illustrate this event for future researchers

Please share your story with us! It can be a journal that you are keeping to document the time, a letter you have written or just some thoughts that you write down.

Restaurants have had to adjust to take out and curbside pick-up

Questions that you may want to consider getting you started writing might include things like:

  • What has changed in your life?
  • Have you had to change any plans such as celebrations, travel or other events?
  • How has your work life been impacted?
  • How are you feeling?
  • What do you miss most?
  • How are you spending your time during the days?

Already Alison O’Donnell’s sixth grade class at Kingswood-Oxford is busy creating a paper document of their current experience (diary entry, letter, drawing, an outline of their day, etc.) that they will be sharing with the historical society.

Face masks and business notices are items we would like to collect

When possible we would also like to collect items and material that relate to this historic moment in time. Ideas of what we would be interested in collecting include photographs, written anecdotes and observations, face masks, signs, and mailings that relate to the story.

The stories and materials we collect will allow all of us to study and share these experiences in the future. It is important that we have your permission to use and share the items that you send in. Please fill out this COVID-19 Collection Form and send to Curator and Director of Special Projects, Sheila Daley at  Alternately, you may submit the below form, which will be sent directly to the Curator. Thank you!