Framingham Historical society wants you to document life in the pandemic

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — The Framingham History Center is creating a digital archive so all the unique experiences and memories people are having during this historic pandemic can be captured while they’re still vivid.

It makes sense that Framingham is embarking on this project. The city is steeped in history. It’s where the first teacher in space, Christa McCAuliffe, grew up. ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ was first performed in front of the Plymouth Church on the town common during the Civil War.

Stacen Goldman, Curator of the Framingham History Center, believes it’s important for everyone to have the opportunity to be heard.

“You know, finding a way for members of our community in the present to maintain their voices in the future,” Goldman said.

Residents are being asked to share photos that standout to them, whether it’s the lack of toilet paper on a store shelf, parents homeschooling their children, or just a dazzling display of nature.

Another option is to maintain a daily journal, using an Excel spreadsheet Goldman created. For example, on March 26, one man observed the first COVID-19 fatality in Framingham.

The Framingham History center believes no story is too small, and that collecting a wide array of experiences will help future historians understand what it was like to live through this medical emergency.

“I think that people think that all the time, that the material they generate in their regular life is not special or that it doesn’t warrant a place in an archive or a museum, but we’re collectors of the experience, we’re here to tell human stories,” explained Goldman.

Telling their stories can also be therapeutic for people as they look for context and perspective during unprecedented times.

“Sometimes as you’re going through the day, it feels so big and it feels overwhelming and it feels impossible to you that you’re going to make it thru to the end of the day,” added Goldman, who has been keeping a journal herself and finds it helpful.

The center says the plan will be to make sure all this material is available for researchers.

They’re also considering the idea of creating an online exhibition, similar to one they have how, which documents how Framingham dealt with the pandemic of 1918.

You can contribute here.

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