About this Project
In December, 2019, news began to spread that officials in the city of Wuhan, China, were fighting a highly contagious and potentially deadly new strain of coronavirus. Called COVID-19, the disease spread rapidly around the globe. On January 20, 2020, the first reported case appeared in the United States. By February 5, Wisconsin reported its first case. And on March 13—the same day that President Trump declared the pandemic to be a national emergency—Milwaukee reported its first two cases.
This site launched on March 15, 2020, inviting the greater Milwaukee area to share items that would document its encounter with the COVID-19 pandemic. It was built by students in Prof. Christopher D. Cantwell's "Local History Research Methods" class and is hosted by the Golda Meir Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In the two years that the project ran, the site took in nearly one thousand items from over five hundred contributors. In addition to the material presented here, the Golda Meir Library's Archives also took in some documents, diaries, and other material for posterity.
In April of 2022 the project was sunsetted after contributions to the site had stop and team members needed to turn to other materials. But the site will stay up as a both a monument and the resources for the Milwaukee community.
While the above has been added to the site, below are the original instructions given to visitors on contributing to the site. Any questions or addition contributions to the project can be directed to Golda Meir Library's Digital Collections and Initiatives, firstname.lastname@example.org.
ORIGINAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR CONTRIBUTIONS (2020-2022)
How Can I Contribute?
Contributing to this project is easy. Simply click on the "Contribute an Item" tab above. This will take you to the contribution page, which will all you to select what kind of item you would like to contribute. You can submit a story, an image, an audio recording, a video, or the copy of an email you received. After you select the kind of item you would like to upload, the site will then present you with a variety of text boxes to fill in. We will ask you to give a title, a description, and a date for your contribution, as well as file if it's appropriate. We will also ask for a name to be associated with an item, but you are welcome to put "Anonymous" if you would like to submit anonymously. After that, your contribution will be submitted to our curatorial team for verification, who will then publish it to the site so long as it is appropriate.
What Can I Contribute?
You can contribute anything that you feel reflects how Milwaukee experienced the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. We intend this project to serve simply as a repository of Milwaukee's memory of this extraordinary time. So any image, story, video, recording, or email that you think captures something about this moment is an appropriate contribution. Potential submissions include:
- Photographs of signs on businesses or homes
- Stories of personal isolation or community engagement
- Notifications from employers, organizations, or community officials
- Instances of social distancing; or moments of connection while in isolation
- Images of empty streets or buildings
- Recordings of silence in places once vibrant
- Documentation of the peculiar sights, sounds, and events of a community on quarantine
- Meditations on health, wellbeing, and ability amidst sickness
- Reflection on what the crisis has revealed to you about either yourself or your community
One of the unique features of this moment is how it is unfolding for many of us in isolation. This is why we specifically flagged "emails" as an item we are interested in collecting. Documenting why and how an organization chose to close, stay open, or accommodate this current moment will be of interest to future historians. We hope you will consider contributing those with the understanding that we will never place you on an email list or share your information.
Whatever you chose to contribute, we hope you will contribute in order to help document how ordinary Milwaukeeans experienced this extraordinary time.
Feel free to contact us about any questions or concerns.