The University of Illinois at Chicago faculty, students and staff can be a part of history as the university’s Special Collections and University Archives is compiling stories on how lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personal stories, photos, artwork and other current materials will be included in a project titled Six Feet Apart: Stories from UIC During COVID-19. The digital exhibit will chronicle the pandemic and preserved in the University Library’s Special Collections and University Archives. It will be publicly available to students, researchers, and other visitors to the library upon completion.
The University Library’s Special Collections and University Archives, the UIC Humanities in Medicine (HuMed) student group and the UI College of Medicine are leading the effort to collect the documentation that could aid future historians. As with past pandemics, the records created by these entities will be studied in the future. This is important, said Megan Keller Young, special collections librarian, as journalists, bloggers and scholars have relied on historical documentation from the 1918 flu epidemic to garner lessons that are used today.
“This project is a way to capture personal reflections, which are all too often missing from the historical record,” said Keller Young. “This is a historical event all of us are going through together, but no one in quite the same way. All of these experiences should be documented for future researchers.”
While anyone can submit an account, the project organizers hope to collect the experiences of individuals working in the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.