Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (2) – 12/4/20
For centuries, historians have been documenting major events, including pandemics, in order to better understand them, and better prepare for them in the future. Documentation of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, for example, revealed rates of infection, the practice of social distancing and mask-wearing and how it was socially perceived at the time, as well as treatments. Missoula County Commissioner David Strohmaier, who also worked for Missoula’s Historical Research Associates for 13 years, knew when the COVID-19 pandemic began, it would be worth their while to ask historians to step up and document this historical information just as people had before us. So far, Strohmaier and a COVID-19 collection team, are sorting through journals, videos, memos from health care workers and county meeting notes and other documents to create a timeline of the pandemic as it continues to happen.
“The Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections has set up an online portal where people can submit documentation of anything that speaks to pandemic times: photographs of people working from home, images of empty store shelves, closed playgrounds and messages of hope in store windows,” wrote Montana Free Press.