Fenton History Center To Chronicle, Archive Local COVID-19 Experiences

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JAMESTOWN — The Fenton History Center is gathering local resident’s feelings and impressions of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part, to allow future researchers to grasp a sense of the mood, attitude and lives of people living at this time in history.

Noah Goodling, executive director of the Fenton History Center told WNYNewsNow that it is important to record and archive more than what has already happened in the area.

“As part of our mission, we need to document not only what has happened, but what is happening especially when there are moments that are of such historic relevance as were seeing in 2020,” Goodling said.

Among the items the Google questionaire includes are how COVID-19 has impacted people, Goodling said.

“What parts of your life has it impacted and what has it changed the way that you’re perceiving the world,” Goodlling said. “We want to make sure that we get people’s perceptions and ideas about the Coronavirus virus while it’s still fresh with them.”

“It’s imperative that we are mindful that we are preserving the history that is happening now,” he said. “We are asking people right now how they are feeling about it.”

Future researchers will “be interested in how people lived through this moment.”

He said collecting and archiving content on social media is currently difficult because the content produced is overwhelming.

“Think about the amount of content that’s being generated every minute.”

There are several options for archiving the content regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, but beyond that, there could be a future exhibit at the history center.

“It’s very possible if we get enough narratives, enough photos, (and) submissions, that we could put together an exhibit sometime in the future,” he said.

He said Jamestown has a vast history of great moments in its history. He said the people living here in the past tried new things and different ideas, such as Chautauqua Institution, Lily Dale and the women’s suffrage movement.

“It may be a bit of a small town, but extraordinary things have happened there,” he said.

In addition, the Fenton History Center is collecting and seeking donations that represent the LGBT community.

“We’re looking for a wide range of experiences, I would say.”

“What we’re looking for are donations that speak to someone’s experiences of being LGBT in this area,” he said. “We want something that’s more representable for people living in the community now.”


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