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The COVID-19 Pandemic: From the Community’s Point of View


June 23, 2020


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Collecting Stories and Objects.

Many museums collect. They collect a variety of objects and use them to tell a comprehensive story. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is no different. We have a collection of over 250,000 artifacts and specimens (by the most conservative count) sharing the history, science and culture of the West Michigan region and the broader world.

In April 2020, the GRPM launched an online community collecting initiative to document the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease, and the response to it, is a unique historical moment that we wanted to document as it was happening. Through these submissions, the GRPM hopes to accurately portray what everyday life was like during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also creating an archive for future generations to remember this time.

The Museum is currently collecting digital material including photographs, videos, and stories.  When it is safe to do so, the Museum will work with the community to collect physical objects related to the pandemic.

Submissions range from photographs of social distancing, empty shelves at grocery stores, to home offices, and even art and music inspired by the pandemic. It is important to get submissions from all aspects of the community, so a complete story can be told. From front-line workers to parents teaching their children at home for the first time, every story is important.

So far, the response from the community has been outstanding! The GRPM has received nearly 300 submissions that will be placed into the Museum’s Collections. The Museum team is working diligently to process and catalog the material and make it available to the public for free through the Museum’s online Collections database.

Make your mark on history and share your story today!

By: The Collections staff