The Dr. JoAnn Rayfield Archives invites members of the Illinois State University community to share their collections and stories related to their experiences during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in order to document the altered lives of the Redbird community.
Examples of items that can be submitted include, but are not limited to, diary/journal entries, photographs, classroom projects and notes, videos, digital artwork and/or scrapbooks, social media screenshots, and any other forms of creative expressions. Materials are submitted through a secure online form for processing by Archives staff.
“We have the unique ability now to collect one’s quarantine and social distancing experience as it is happening,” said University Archivist April Anderson-Zorn. “Through digital diaries, podcasts, and of course social media, we can document how we have coped and adapted to a life-altering situation that isn’t just playing out in our community but on the world stage.”
Archives is often called upon to provide research assistance for past well-known events, such as the 1918 flu pandemic. Unfortunately, Archives does not have any materials from that time other than The Vidette that can speak to the Illinois State University community’s experience.
“When our future researchers ask for resources on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rayfield Archives will hopefully be able to provide firsthand accounts of Redbird resilience,” said Anderson-Zorn. “We want to be able to provide stories of faculty who switched almost overnight to distance learning, students who experienced hardships or housing difficulties, staff who struggled to adjust to working from home along with other working family members, alumni who are fighting the pandemic on the front lines, and any other information people are willing to share with us for the sake of Redbird history.”
To join in documenting your Redbird pandemic experience, visit https://bit.ly/ISUArchivesCOVID. Anyone with questions about this project or questions about items to submit should contact Archives@IllinoisState.edu for additional information and guidance.
The Dr. JoAnn Rayfield Archives at Illinois State University is the official repository for selected materials that document the history of the University and all aspects of campus life. Archives collects, preserves, and makes materials accessible to support Milner Library and the ISU community’s research and teaching goals. For more information, visit the Archives website.