This week I finished catalogue worksheets for a collection at the Anthracite Museum that included items that relate to the current pandemic. For these worksheets, I had to write general descriptions and report the condition of the items. Some of the items included a box of face masks, toilet paper, and bottles of sanitizer. There are important to have in a collection relating to COVID-19 because, at the beginning of the pandemic, it could be difficult to find some of these items in stores. I remember when the pandemic first became serious in the U.S., I could not find toilet paper, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and other items. While it may seem silly to save some of these items, it exhibits the experiences that we went through during this time.
Once I finished the catalogue worksheets, I moved onto a new project. I am currently going through stories/answers from Lackawanna County residents about how this pandemic has affected them. Some of the questions they were asked include: What did you do today? What would you have done today pre-COVID-19? When did you first notice the discussion of COVID-19? What emotions have you experienced during this time? Many of the responses to these questions are similar. Residents have been experiencing many of the same emotions such as anxiety, sadness, and frustration. However, some have also reported that they have been grateful and happy to be able to spend more time with their families.
While going through these answers, I am determining keywords that come up often in the residents’ responses. Some keywords that I have found so far include: virtually, anxiety, walk, family and friends, work, social distancing, and grocery store. These responses were collected throughout April and some during May, so that was right in the middle of when everything was shut down. I think that it would be interesting to see if/how their responses have changed in the past 5-6 months.