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Preserving COVID-19 Experiences, Photos and Archives for Future Generations

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages, the St. Louis County Historical Society is committed to saving today’s history for tomorrow’s generations.

“A year from now, are we going to remember what it felt like to be afraid of touching door handles or grocery store carts?” asked Charley Langowski, former SLCHS curator. “We must save the stories of how our lives changed and how we adapted. Future generations will want to know.”

The historical society is encouraging people to think about how COVID-19 has directly affected their lives and what artifacts will help tell their story. Possible artifacts include diaries, mask patterns, recipes for homemade hand sanitizers, distance-learning lesson plans, social distancing signs, quarantine crafts and more.

Since those items are still in use, the SLCHS is not accepting artifact donations at this time. However, Langowski urged people to start thinking about the types of items they would want to show their family members 50 or 100 years from now.

“Any donation we accept (in the future) must include provenance – why it was important, how it was used and what part of life it reflected,” Langowski said. “That can only be defined by thinking about our lives and the ways they have changed.”

The following questions will help people determine which artifacts can help tell their personal story:

  • How has this pandemic affected you and your family?

  • Are you social distancing? If not, why not?

  • What movies, books or music are you enjoying? Are you binge-watching TV series?

  • Are you cooking more? Have you discovered any new recipes? Are you baking sourdough bread?

  • How have business closings affected you?

  • Are you working from home now? Or are you searching for a job?

  • How are your children dealing with distance learning, high stress levels and general uncertainties?

  • Do you have a front-line or essential worker in your family? How has that affected your family?

What can people do now?

People are sharing their COVID-19 stories and photos on social media. Those posts can be shared with the SLCHS in three ways:

  • Tag the society by adding @thehistorypeople

  • Email

  • Mail items to St. Louis County Historical Society, 506 W Michigan St. #9, Duluth, MN, 55802

To learn about SLCHS, visit and

About St. Louis County Historical Society

Since its inception in 1922, the St. Louis County Historical Society has sought to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge about the history of St. Louis County and the state of Minnesota. The Society maintains and operates a museum, the Veterans Memorial Hall and the Ojibwe Gallery, as well as a variety of traveling exhibits.

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