New Brunswick Museum needs your help to record life during the COVID-19 pandemic
SAINT JOHN -- Few would argue the COVID-19 pandemic has made this year one for the history books.
Staff members at the New Brunswick Museum are asking the public to help them capture what life is like during the pandemic for future generations.
Inside the museum archives, there are records that detail the province's history and the lives of countless New Brunswickers. However, not every major event has been well-documented.
“Surprisingly, to a lot of people, we don't have a lot of information about the pandemic in 1918 – 1919,” says Felicity Osepchook, the archives curator at the New Brunswick Museum.
It has been a century since the Spanish Flu pandemic and staff at the museum are convinced that today's pandemic will be just as historic.
Osepchook says they want to know about the lives of ordinary people during COVID-19.
For example, the personal impact of churches and schools being closed, of restaurants and workplaces shut down, and of city streets without the hustle and bustle.
“Personal accounts are always interesting too. When you think of diaries, and what people record in there, there's all kinds of information and it just gives a different perspective as well,” says Osepchook.
Jim Landry is a researcher and history enthusiast. He likes the idea of documenting history while it's being made.
“Documentation is kind of the key word here. That means that you're putting some thought to it,” says Landry.
“It's not just random thought, but it's something that you want someone 60, 70, 80 years from now to learn about what your experience was.”
Landry says the museum's project could be an eye-opener for Maritimers of today and tomorrow.
“It will be in the history books and it is nice that it's not just a series of statistics. It's more about the effect that it had on human life on a personal level,” says Landry.
The museum will be accepting pandemic stories until July 1. There will even be prizes for some of the best entries.
“So we can record these stories now for future generations. Imagine our descendants reading about this in the future. It will help them, it will guide them,” says Osepchook.
The pandemic has been stressful and life-altering, which is why Osepchook says it will be of enormous interest to future generations of Maritimers.