The COVID-19 (or coronavirus) pandemic has dramatically changed the way the world functions and people connect. These world-wide modifications to how we operate and interact as a people, a community and a society make this an unusual time, one worth recording for future understanding. Every individual’s written thoughts and/or creative projects can help future historians understand what it was like to experience daily life during this local and global crisis.
The University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC) wants to hear from you! The AHC is initiating a COVID-19 Collection Project to gather experiences from across Wyoming. Your submissions will document for future generations the impact that this pandemic has on your work, education, personal life, community, along with any additional observations you may wish to make. These stories tell us what’s happening from an individual perspective, providing a personal and in-depth look at the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
To aid in collecting your stories, the AHC has created an online survey that you can access here. The survey provides questions that can help inspire your remarks on this experience. If you find that you have more you wish to share, the AHC welcomes other types of items that capture your experience, such as poems, photographs, and other creative works.
As we learn more about COVID-19 and the impact of this pandemic fluctuates, our lives and observations will also evolve. Since this project is open-ended, we encourage you to submit multiple stories. Your comments should be open and honest, but only insofar as you feel comfortable.
Participants in the survey and donors to this project must agree to give permission to the AHC to archivally preserve these stories and to provide public access to them. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can select that option within the survey. There is also an option to restrict public access to your story for five (5) years. Please note that we are unable to accept submissions from persons under the age of 18. We are also unable to accept submissions with HIPAA content.
We are more than willing to discuss any aspect of this project with you. For any questions regarding this project, restrictions, anonymity, or if you want to donate anything beyond the scope of the survey, please contact Sara Davis, University Archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rachel Gattermeyer, Digital Archivist at email@example.com.
Be well and thank you for being a part of history!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Who can participate?
Any person 18 years or older who agrees to give permission to the AHC to archivally preserve and provide access to their story. Please contact the other Wyoming institutions (see below) to determine if they will accept materials for participants younger than 18 years of age.
What types of formats are accepted?
Is there anything we should avoid writing about?
We are not able to collect any material with HIPAA content. HIPAA requires that personal health information remain confidential. This means that you must agree not to include personally identifiable health information about yourself, another person or persons, or information that could allow a third party to identify the people. This rule encompasses information about members of your family, neighbors, and others. If you elect to share personal health information, the third party must separately submit the survey and the submissions must be fully anonymized for both the submitter and any third parties identifiable in the submission. Please let us know if you have questions.
What should I document?
The AHC’s COVID-19 Collection Project hopes to record community narratives as well as individual ones. We want to see the impact of the COVID-19 virus through your eyes. Be creative. Share with us your observations about how this has impacted your community and beyond, as well as the daily impact to your personal and professional life.
I’m an instructor and I’d like to turn this into an assignment for my students. Is there anything I need to know?
This is great! Instructors needs to be cognizant that student educational records as well as schoolwork is protected through FERPA, and teachers cannot require that students donate materials to the archives. Instructors should notify their students that these projects are eligible to be part of the AHC’s COVID-19 Collection Project with their permission and provide them with the AHC’s release form with the assignment, the link to the survey, and contact information for Sara Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rachel Gattermeyer (email@example.com) for more information.
How do I submit?
To participate in contributing your stories, please complete the online survey. If you are interested in submitting material other than just the survey, please contact Sara Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rachel Gattermeyer (email@example.com).
How frequently can/should I submit?
As the impact of COVID-19 will change over time, participants are encouraged to submit multiple observations.
What other Wyoming institutions are collecting?
In addition to the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, the Wyoming State Archives and the Wyoming State Museum are collecting materials. For more information or to offer items, please contact Kathy Marquis, State Archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jennifer Alexander, Wyoming State Museum Supervisor of Collections at email@example.com.
Can I keep the copyright to what I submit?
We request that participants give the AHC permission to preserve and provide access to the materials they submit.
Can I restrict public access to my submission for a period of time?
Yes, the online survey allows users to request to restrict the material. The default restriction is for five (5) years. Those interested in restricting their submitted information need to contact Sara Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rachel Gattermeyer (email@example.com).
Can submissions be anonymous?
Yes, we want people to feel comfortable sharing their stories. Please indicate on the survey form that you are requesting anonymity. In these cases, the AHC will remove any identifying information from the submitted information before storing them in the archive.
– Post submitted by AHC University Archivist Sara Davis and AHC Digital Archivist Rachel Gattermeyer.