by Dave Warner
The Little Falls Historical Society has started a project where they have developed a special section on their website that will serve as a repository where students and other community members can submit written work, artwork, photographs, and other materials related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The goal of the project is to create a collective body of work that will serve as a historic record of how individuals, families, government, schools, businesses, and other organizations are dealing with disruptions in their daily routines due to COVID-19.
They are hoping that future generations will be able to better understand how the community responded to this crisis.
According to their website, they “hope to provide a cathartic outlet for people to apply their individual creativity for the greater good.”
Jeff Gressler, President of the group said, “The Schenectady Historical Society did this before we did, but they were sort of our inspiration to do this here.”
Gressler went on to say that what made it possible for them to do the project, was their web designer and manager, Ginny Rogers. “She was able to create this repository page quickly.”
He says that these kinds of projects are now going on nation-wide. “We are in step with the national effort to have a project like this.”
Gressler said that since he and his wife are both former teachers, they immediately thought about getting input from the students.
“Dr. Levatino has been very receptive, as have the principals of the other schools. Some individual teachers that we know have been very receptive as well,” he stated.
Members of the historical society have been working hard to have a virtual presence during the pandemic. “This project is open-ended as to the submission timing. Anybody can submit something, but this is not a political forum. We’re not providing a platform for someone to bash someone,” Gressler said.
“This is strictly how your life has been impacted. Local history, that’s what we’re trying to record here.”
Gressler said that whenever they come up with a new idea for an exhibit, they’re able to look back into their files to find information that is readily available.
“In 50 years hence, or whenever, when people look back and say ‘how the heck did Little Falls deal with this pandemic, we’re hoping that this body of work will provide people with a knowledge base to understand it,” he said.
Written materials can include stories, journal entries, poems, and other reflections of how people have been forced to make changes in their daily lives since this crisis began.
Some of the questions you could answer might be:
- What did you do today or this week that is different than what you would do during a “normal” day or week?
- How are people around you responding?
- How has this crisis impacted you and your family?
- What has been the most difficult thing for you personally about this crisis?
- What are your biggest concerns right now?
- What brings you joy or comfort right now?
- What changes have you personally experienced (physically, mentally, emotionally, or psychologically) since this crisis began?
They also have suggestions on the website for writing essays, journals, or poems. Additionally, they have ideas that might also inspire visual projects such as photos, artwork, or computer-generated “posters.”
Go to littlefallshistoricalsociety.org and click on “EXHIBITS” and then “VIRTUAL EXHIBITS” to take you to “MAKING HISTORY TODAY.”