The Heinz History Center is seeking donations of materials to document Pittsburgh's response to the pandemic | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Heinz History Center is seeking donations of materials to document Pittsburgh's response to the pandemic

click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
The current pandemic will take months, even years, to mentally and emotionally process after it has passed. The Heinz History Center is seeking material donations for an archive that will document Pittsburgh's response to COVID-19, so that in the future, people will be able to look back on how the community responded and changed.

"As change unfolds and our community adapts, we are in the position of being able to preserve history as it happens," wrote the Detre Library & Archives staff in a blog post. "The photographs and videos we make to share with family and friends, the social media posts we create, and the simple grocery lists and home lessons plans we develop are all powerful evidence of how we are responding to the challenges we face."

The Heinz staff is mostly focused on collecting digital material right now, including personal stories; photos, video, or audio; websites, and social media posts. They are particularly seeking material from people working in different sectors, including medical professionals, service and safety workers, local businesses, educators, and students. They are also interested in hearing more generally about how Pittsburghers are spending their recreation time, interacting with friends and family, helping neighbors, and connecting with their community.


The team is also looking to preserve physical items, including takeout menus from restaurants adapting to changes, grocery lists, and homeschool lesson plans, though they are not collecting them until the History Center reopens.

The History Center took on a similar emergency archive project after the Tree of Life shooting in October 2018, when they solicited materials and memories from the public to document local and global reactions. In one year, the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives collected over 170 linear feet of material, including letters, news articles, memorial objects, and more.

For more information on how to donate, visit the Heinz History Center website.

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