Curious about what happened during COVID-19 in Wyoming? For over a year, the American Heritage Center has been gathering the stories of people living through the pandemic all across the state. We are very excited to show some of what we have so far with our new COVID-19 in Wyoming website: https://sites.google.com/wyo.gov/covidinwy/home.
The COVID-19 in Wyoming website is a joint project that brings together the many wonderful COVID-19-related donations cared for by the AHC, the Wyoming State Archives, and the Wyoming State Museum. Since March 2020, all three organizations put the call out to Wyoming residents to share their thoughts, observations, memories, creative pursuits, and experiences. The AHC’s COVID-19 Collection Project encouraged people to get creative, and there has been a tremendous response.
On the online platform you’ll see Governor Gordon’s press conferences, video messages from theatre studios, photos from downtown Laramie and Cheyenne, students’ reflections, and much more. There are stories of struggle, coping, and worry about what the future will hold. One University of Wyoming student said how hard it is visiting her grandma – “I’m just used to…sitting right next to her and giving her a hug when I leave, and that’s something I can’t do and that just breaks my heart.”
But there are also stories of hope and optimism. Many businesses in downtown Laramie had cut-out hearts on their storefronts with inspiring messages, like “in this together” and “#notmeus.” One UW student said, “it’s been pretty amazing to see gas under $2.00.”
There are some of lighter moments, too. Richard Travsky took a photo of the famous T-Rex statue outside of the UW Geological Museum wearing a cloth mask.
And there’s also a photo of the Ursus the bear sculpture wearing a mask at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.
These personal stories help shape our understanding of this dramatic and disruptive time. They provide glimpses and visuals into what people felt and what they observed, and give a depth to how we remember the past.
If you have a story to tell and want to get involved, visit our COVID-19 Collection Project website: https://www.uwyo.edu/ahc/covid-19-collecting.html. All donors can elect whether to remain anonymous and even to keep their contributions from being viewed for up to five years.
Help us make history! #COVIDWY #alwaysarchiving
Post contributed by AHC Digital Archivist Rachel Gattermeyer.