Historical association launches campaign to gather impressions of COVID-19 crisis


Citizens of the world are facing what many believe is an unparalleled pandemic, forcing unprecedented changes in the day-to-day life of every individual.

The Monmouth County Historical Association has initiated a program designed to gather first person impressions of this chapter in history from county residents, both adults and children, to be archived in the digital collection “Remembering COVID-19,” according to a press release from the association, which is based in Freehold Borough.

“As the size and scope of the crisis became more and more apparent, MCHA saw the need to document the day-to-day experience in Monmouth County and also provide an avenue for people to stay connected in this time of ‘social distancing’ “, said Dana Howell, MCHA research librarian and archivist.

Howell, along with Associate Curator Joe Zemla, formulated a survey, with a version for adults and one for children, allowing people to share their impressions and experiences dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the press release.

A call to respond including the link to the surveys is posted through MCHA social media and on the association’s website. In addition, the same request with links was emailed to MCHA members and supporters. Participants are also welcome to share relevant photos documenting their perspectives.

“In designing the questions, we tried to think of what people would be curious to know about this time 100 years from now, focusing on the personal aspects of the event not typically recorded by media,” Howell said. “Our additional goal for the children’s version is to help instill confidence and a sense of satisfaction as well as offer an opportunity for creativity and even a little fun.”

In addition to creating the collection “Remembering COVID-19,” with permission from participants, submissions will be shared on MCHA’s social media platforms, according to the press release.

“By sharing the thoughts and situations of our neighbors in Monmouth County, we are hoping to provide an avenue of personal connection in this time of necessary isolation,” said Meg Sharp Walton, MCHA executive director. “Plus, while adhering to social distancing guidelines, MCHA will be able to remotely continue to grow our recently inaugurated oral history project.”

“I am proud that MCHA is once again providing an innovative means to gather and share first person information from our county friends and neighbors, that began with the exhibit ‘Tracking Sandy’ “, added MCHA President Linda Bricker.

“The archive being created now will help generations to come understand the emotions, challenges and triumphs encompassed in this momentous event,” she said.

To download the “Remembering “COVID-19 questionnaires, go to https://www.monmouthhistory.org/covid19

Interested individuals may also visit the MCHA Facebook page.