Journaling Project

The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent safer-at-home order has led many residents to show their creative side – creativity in working from home, creativity in online learning, creativity in enjoying outdoor activities while maintaining social distancing.

Now, residents are being asked to flex their creativity in a journaling project sponsored by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The organization has launched a COVID-19 journaling campaign to collect the stories of what life is like, firsthand, for residents going through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone has a story, and every story is important. The society is seeking individuals and organizations from all walks of life, different cultures and different ages to participate and document their daily life for the next 30, 60 or 90 days. Teachers or supervisors could also make this an engaging group project.

Don’t think you can write down what life is like today? No need to worry. The journals can be written, recorded, photographed or expressed through artwork. How people document their journal is up to them.

Later in the year, the society will reach back out to participants with information on how to donate their journal to the society archives.

Christian Overland, CEO of the Wisconsin Historical Society, said the group’s mission has always been to collect, preserve and share stories. Today’s pandemic is a unique opportunity to live that mission. In this way, future generations can better understand the stories of perseverance, ingenuity and the courageous efforts of many who worked together to keep others safe and healthy from this pandemic.

Collecting journals with firsthand experiences is nothing new for the society.

In 1861, society founder Lyman Draper asked Civil War soldiers stationed at Camp Randall to help document the Civil War by keeping a diary. After the war, those diaries were returned to the society, where today they are regarded as one of the most valuable collections in the society’s archives.

Be a part of history.

Anyone interested in participating in this journal project is asked to sign up through the society’s website. For information on the project and how the community can participate, visit wisconsinhistory.org/journalproject.

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