We are living in unprecedented times, the events of which will have a lasting impact on our society for generations to come. Historians often regret the lack of direct eye-witness testimony to such formative events from the past.
We have an opportunity now to collect and preserve this rarest class of historical source for future generations.
There are several ways you can participate in this documentation effort.
The results of this survey will go directly to Dutchess County Historian Will Tatum and will become a permanent part of the Dutchess County Archives. He anticipates posting follow-up surveys as the crisis continues and once it passes. Take the survey
For the time being, feel free to respond to the survey as often as you desire: if you respond today and wish to submit additional information on April 4th, submit a new survey. You can also email your personal observations, photos, and other files directly to the County Historian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: No personal health information is required.
The best option for future historians is to maintain a daily journal recording your thoughts and feelings, the news you are hearing locally, and how you are spending your time during this crisis. Future generations will certainly want to know how the public health measures taken to stem the spread of COVID-19 affected local people.
Journals can range from the conventional written form to a computer word-processing document to an audio or video file. So if you don’t like writing, please remember that most smartphones feature a voice recorder option, as well as video through the camera function.
For other ideas on measures you can take to preserve your current experiences for future generations, please visit the Association of Public Historians of New York State special COVID-19 webpage. It contains a list of different approaches to documenting this crisis.