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Your Story is North Carolina’s Story

What Story Will Your COVID-19 Object Tell?

These two items from the museum’s collection help us interpret the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in North Carolina. Red Cross volunteer nurse Pauline Koonce wore this head covering (left) while working at an emergency hospital in Wilmington. The Vick Chemical Company, headquartered in Greensboro, manufactured medicines (right) around the clock to keep up with demand.

This nurse’s veil from our collection, worn by Red Cross volunteer nurse Pauline Koonce at an emergency hospital in Wilmington, helps us interpret the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic in North Carolina. A museum staffer made these facial cloth coverings for her family recently. Do you have objects that could help us tell the many stories of the COVID-19 pandemic to future generations?

The North Carolina Museum of History collects and preserves artifacts relating to the history and heritage of North Carolina. We know that future visitors will want to learn about the many ways this life-altering, worldwide coronavirus outbreak affected North Carolinians.

We are seeking artifacts that will allow us to document numerous aspects of the pandemic. Objects could include:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE), including items manufactured in North Carolina.
  • Items associated with North Carolinians stricken with COVID-19.
  • Items associated with frontline “essential” workers, including medical personnel, store employees, delivery workers, transportation workers, and government employees.
  • Items related to COVID-19 medical research.
  • Items associated with life during “quarantine,” including objects interpreting the following: shortages, working from home, schooling from home, caring for family members, exploring new hobbies, dealing with isolation, and experiencing the positives and negatives of staying at home.
  • Items connected to altered “life-changing” experiences, including weddings, pregnancies and births, adoptions, and funerals.
  • Items associated with cancellations and closures faced by individuals, businesses, schools, nonprofits, and religious and cultural institutions.
  • Items related to workers who were furloughed or lost their jobs.
  • Items linked to coronavirus volunteer efforts.
  • Items associated with social distancing.

A few important notes:

We collect objects that help us tell larger stories. We can use digital photos and videos to assist in that storytelling, but we can only accept physical, 3D items into our collection.

  • For example, we might collect the props you used to film that COVID-19 video you posted online, or we might collect a social distancing sign from a local business (once it was no longer needed). But we would not collect the video without the props, or a digital image of the sign without the sign itself.

Items must have a strong connection to North Carolina or a North Carolinian to be accepted into our collection.

We can’t collect objects while we’re closed, so we’re asking individuals to save items that might make great artifacts. Feel free to record and submit information about your object now, so that we can get back in touch when we’re ready to collect.

To let us know about your potential artifact, please fill out the form below. If you are able, please also attach:

  • A digital image of your object.
  • Any supporting digital images showing the object in its original setting or use, or images of people using the object.
  • A short video in which you record yourself telling your personal COVID-19 story in connection to the artifact. (We may use these videos in future exhibits, so please keep your video to 1 minute or less in length.) 

Contact raelana.poteat@ncdcr.gov with any questions.

To donate journals, digital photos, videos, online diaries, and oral histories, please contact the State Archives of North Carolina.

Files must be less than 256 MB.
Allowed file types: jpg jpeg png eps tif.
Files must be less than 256 MB.
Allowed file types: jpg jpeg png eps tif.
Files must be less than 256 MB.
Allowed file types: avi mov mp3 wav mp4.