Historians documenting pandemic in Livingston

Livingston County Historical Society Museum, 30 Center St., Geneseo.

GENESEO – The Livingston County Historical Society Museum, 30 Center St., is developing a new exhibit about two pandemics, a century apart.

The exhibition, “1918 Influenza & COVID-19: Two Deadly Diseases a Century Apart,” looks at both the current public health crisis and the 1918 flu pandemic.

“The parallels between the two pandemics is striking, with the main difference being the COVID-19 has a vaccine,” said Museum Administrator Anna Kowalchuk.

The exhibit will consist of four panels and will include some objects from the museum’s collections. The display will focus on Livingston County while contextualizing the story in the broader narrative outside the region.

Additionally, the Livingston County Historical Society is collecting present day items that can be used to tell the story of the COVID-19 pandemic 100 years from now. Kowalchuk said she is looking for a few hand-made masks and are collecting other documentation. For example, she has saved the Geneseo Central School “Linkages” newsletter that describes the school’s plans for educating students during the pandemic.

Separately, Livingston County Historian Amie Alden is also collecting stories about life during the pandemic.

The “Livingston County Historian COVID-19 Documentation Project” is asking residents to submit short stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them personally or professionally, and what they have learned during the pandemic. There is the ability to upload photographs and videos.

Submissions will be preserved in the archival collections of the Livingston County Historian’s Office. Materials will be part of the public record, available for research or used in future exhibits or publications.

Everything from experiences as a front-line worker or someone directly affected by COVID-19 to a person who figured out Zoom for the first tie or had Thanksgiving outside is welcomed.

“Even if someone’s 2020 didn’t feel especially important, memorable or historic, it is part of the collective experience of 2020-2021 and has a place in our expanding collections,” said Deputy Livingston County Historian Holly C. Watson.

A submission form is available on the county website. Go to https://tinyurl.com/yarwze8n.

The form includes questions to prompt reflections. These include how has the pandemic impacted you personally and/or professionally, and what have you learned from the pandemic year.

Information may also be emailed to historian@co.livingston.ny.us. Residents may also arrange to do an interview or share storytelling by phone if they prefer. Call the historian’s office at (585) 243-7955 or (585) 335-1730.

Those making submissions are asked to include their name and town of residence, but if they would like to remain anonymous in the event that material is published, they may indicate that preference.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1