Atlanta History Center wants help chronicling impact of COVID-19

Grant Park Farmers Market’s personal shopper Mercedes Melendez (L) buys groceries for her client Sunday, March 29, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

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Grant Park Farmers Market’s personal shopper Mercedes Melendez (L) buys groceries for her client Sunday, March 29, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

That picture you took of your family playing Scrabble.

The old family recipe you rarely made because it was too rich but, given the times, it feels right to prepare.

The bedtime story you read your children to give them comfort in a frightening time.

These are the subtle, everyday moments the Atlanta History Center is asking the public to share for the center's new project documenting the impact of the coronavirus on daily life in the city. It's not necessarily the big things the history center is looking for from the public, such as public ordinances or newsreel clips, but moments that might seem small or insignificant now, but that people will look back on 100 years from now to understand how people coped with a modern plague.

“Though you may not realize it, you’re already documenting this time of constant change,” wrote Erica Hauge, collections manager in a blog post appealing for contributions. “You create the historic record when you take a photo of something that makes you feel more connected while self-isolating. Maybe you’ve seen a sign, received an email…Perhaps it was the empty toilet paper aisle at Kroger, a furlough notice, the cancellation of a planned trip, emails from your child’s school, or a note to an at-risk loved one. Maybe it’s the receipt for a donation you made to support a local small business or essential employee …”

Because the history center is now closed to the public, no physical materials can be donated. Everything must be donated virtually.

Similarly, other institutions are collecting more formal coronavirus documents, including the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia at Dalton State. The heritage center is asking for copies of local government, school, business and church announcements related to the crisis. All contributions must be made online.

“Museums and archives increasingly call this kind of work, ‘rapid response collecting,’” said Adam Ware, Bandy Center director, in a statement. “We don’t yet know what these changes mean, but we know the if future generations are to have an opportunity to interpret them, we need to collect evidence of them as they happen.”

To contribute to the Atlanta History Center's effort atlantahistorycenter.com/research/corona-collective

To contribute to the Bandy Center’s effort, email bandyheritagecenter@daltonstate.edu

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Shortages of particular items have hit grocery store shelves as people have engaged in some hoarding and panic-induced buying because of the spread of COVID-19. In this Publix in Cobb County, all the bleach, which can be used for sanitizing, has been purchased, though the shelves remain full of other clothes cleaning products.

Shortages of particular items have hit grocery store shelves as people have engaged in some hoarding and panic-induced buying because of the spread of COVID-19. In this Publix in Cobb County, all the bleach, which can be used for sanitizing, has been purchased, though the shelves remain full of other clothes cleaning products.

Combined ShapeCaption
Shortages of particular items have hit grocery store shelves as people have engaged in some hoarding and panic-induced buying because of the spread of COVID-19. In this Publix in Cobb County, all the bleach, which can be used for sanitizing, has been purchased, though the shelves remain full of other clothes cleaning products.