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What does it mean to live through a pandemic? How does this disrupt our everyday lives? How do we make sense of the uncertainty and anxiety of this time of pandemic and crisis?

These are questions we are all grappling with as we live through a moment that, for many of us, is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. These same questions, however, are ones that historians will one day ask as they work to make sense of this pandemic. Museums will consider how to best present the history of this moment. Future generations will wonder what it felt like to live through it. This archive is one effort to collect materials that will help future historians, and future generations, to understand our experiences of this pandemic.

Based on the “Journal of the Plague Year: An Archive of COVID-19” begun at Arizona State University, this archive will focus on the pandemic’s impact on Carleton and its communities, and the responses and experiences of those communities. We welcome all submissions, but especially encourage the participation of Carleton students, faculty, staff, alumni, neighbors, and community partners.

This archive is a collaboration between the Public Works Initiative and the Broom Fellowship for Public Scholarship, with additional support provided by the Carleton College Archives and Susannah Ottaway’s public history practicum, Historians for Hire. Students will curate submissions while also gathering materials for the archive themselves. You can learn more about the course and the work students are doing on the course blog.

We hope to collect a wide variety of materials in this archive. This includes materials of institutional and organizational responses, community responses, and personal responses and experiences. We welcome photographs, announcements, posters, emails, journals, artwork, social media content, and more. Please see our “Collection Policies” for more information. Furthermore, we hope to collect materials that reflect a wide array of responses and experiences of those in our communities. Once the urgency of the pandemic has passed, we will then work with our colleagues at the Carleton College Archives to determine the best permanent home for the items gathered here, whether in the Carleton College Archives, the Rice County Historical Society Archives, the Northfield-Rice County Digital History Collection, and/or the Journal of the Plague Year.

This site is still a work in progress, and some information may be incomplete. Thank you for your patience!