Clarkson encouraging campus community members to contribute to COVID-19 archive
POTSDAM — Clarkson Libraries, in conjunction with the University’s Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, has been working on a project titled “Shortening the Distance Between Us: COVID-19 Archival Project” and is now asking members of the Clarkson community to contribute to the archive.
Shortly after the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic began, libraries, archives, and museums all over the world began collecting and documenting the pandemic as it was happening. Clarkson’s Libraries and Archives teamed up with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences to keep a record of Clarkson-centric information related to the pandemic.Associate Professor of History Laura Ettinger, who teaches a class that focuses on epidemics, introduced the archival project to her students.
“Almost as soon as the pandemic started, I knew that I wanted to have my History of Public Health in America students conduct oral history interviews about COVID-19,” said Ettinger, who will also involve students in her History of the American Family class in the project. “The class was on the history of epidemics, and here we were in the middle of a pandemic in this historical moment! Why not start with the present?”
Students in Ettinger’s class spoke with family members, fellow Clarkson students, and friends outside of the university to create primary source accounts of the thoughts, feelings and experiences of those enduring a global pandemic. Ettinger said these interviews will allow people in the future understand what it was like to live through COVID-19.
“I also thought that these interviews would potentially be meaningful to the students conducting them and the people they were interviewing,” she said. “People want to tell their stories and be heard.”
Clarkson University Libraries encourages all students, staff, faculty and alumni to participate in the archival project. For more information on getting involved, please visit sites.clarkson.edu/library/covid-19-archival-project or email [email protected].
The Clarkson University Libraries’ Archives host valuable manuscripts, photographs and other documents. The archives also host the Clarksonian, the University yearbook; the Clarkson Bulletin; the Clarkson Alumni Directory; and back issues of The Clarkson Integrator, the student newspaper. Materials about the Clarkson family and Clarkson University history including the Clarkson Mosaic, the University’s centennial history, are also available online as part of the North Country Digital History project.
Student interviews completed for the COVID-19 Archival Project can be found in the New York Heritage Digital Collection at nyheritage.org/collections/clarkson-university-covid-19-interviews.
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