Bryn Mawr College Special Collections is launching a project to encourage Bryn Mawr students, faculty, and staff to document their experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak and contribute them to the College Archives.
Like any major historical event, future researchers will want to look at the impact of COVID-19 on people and their community. Those researchers might have easy access to reports from the CDC, to pandemic statistics, and to other official records, but what about records that capture the impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives? While Bryn Mawr College's official response to the pandemic will be preserved in the College Archives through web capture and the routine transfer of administrative records to the archives, we don't have a way to ensure the experiences of individuals who attend and work at the college are preserved alongside those official responses.
The goal of this project is to create a community-sourced archive of personal experiences and reactions to the pandemic, one which shows the ways in which we are living now. All members of the Bryn Mawr College community are invited and encouraged to participate.
Our goal is to create an online collection of materials that document the experiences of Bryn Mawr College community members during COVID-19. Although submissions will not be available to the public immediately, we do intend for this to be a public facing project included in our digital collections, so keep that in mind when sharing your materials. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, and perfection. We want an accurate portrayal of what the pandemic is like for our community.
Material submitted to the project should be submitted by the rights holder/creator. While only one person needs to submit the material, if it is a collaborative work, we ask that all creators submit a form granting permission to include their material in the archive.
Upon submission, we will ask you to agree to a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-Share-Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA) license which allows others to remix, reuse, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their work under the identical terms. For more details, go here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.
The College Archives welcomes any documentation that represents your individual experience or the experiences of your community. This could take many forms, including material you're already creating. Maybe you're keeping a journal, making art or poetry, or recording a vlog—perhaps you're turning to social media and making memes or taking photos and videos of your life to share with friends.
We're interested too in stories about the impact of the shift to remote learning, instruction, and work. How has working or studying from home affected you? How are you and your friends and family keeping in touch during this period of social distancing and quarantine? Are you an essential service worker or living with someone who is unable to self-isolate? We want to hear your story.
This is not the first time Bryn Mawr College community members have faced a pandemic. As World War I was coming to an end, the world found itself facing a similar crisis with the outbreak of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, sometimes referred to as the Spanish Flu. The College Archives holds records from both students and the college administration from 1918 which capture both the administrative decisions made during the pandemic and the effects of those decisions on the Bryn Mawr community. What will people look back on a century from now? What do you wish we knew about the life of the College during the 1918-19 pandemic?