In these wildly uncertain times, it can be difficult to think too far beyond “when will things get
back to normal?” But archivists are also wondering how this unique moment might be
remembered years from now. UNT’s University Archivist is working to save materials that
UNT produces to communicate information about the pandemic. But there’s still more to be
done to preserve this history, and students can help.
What is already being added to the archive is the official response to the pandemic: campus-wide
email announcements, the UNT health alerts website, news articles. It is much harder to
capture how something like this truly effects the people in our campus community. This is where
students and other community members come in. By recording how you experience this crisis
and contributing to the archive, you can help to tell the full story of how COVID-19 impacted the
UNT community to future generations.
There are many ways you can record how you experience our present time of social distancing
and quarantine. If you haven’t kept a journal before, now is as a good a time as any to start. Or
maybe you can communicate your experience of the pandemic better another way – visual art,
songwriting, zine making, podcasting, even taking a photo on your phone of empty grocery store
shelves is documentation of what is happening in our community in 2020. All these ways of
documenting your experiences can be therapeutic in processing your own thoughts right now
and can also help future generations understand just what it was like to be alive in this moment.
However you record your experience of this time, the University Archive at UNT can provide a
long term home to your voice. In the archive, your story can be revisited when we look back on
the cultural impact of the pandemic once this is all over. Even if you don’t want to part with your
physical journal or artwork or zine, the University Archive can accept digital versions of
whatever you create either through our web application Keeper or a more traditional donation
process. Digital items live online in our Digital Library and the Portal to Texas History for anyone
with Internet access to discover, and physical materials stay in our vault where they can be
requested by visitors to view in person in our reading room, so a year from now or 100 years
from now people can see how COVID-19 impacted UNT and you.
So, please, think about keeping some record of your personal experience during this
unprecedented time – it will be incredibly important later. Here is a guide with tips on how to create that record and how to submit it to the University Archive.
If you have any questions about the University Archive or potential donations, please contact
Rachael Zipperer at firstname.lastname@example.org