Sacramento historians ask public for artifacts to help document COVID-19 era

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Despite being printed more than 100 years ago, Sacramento Bee headlines from 1918 sound surprisingly familiar.  

Center for Sacramento History curator Veronica Kandl told FOX40 that their newspaper archives provide a glimpse into the commerce, politics and health concerns during the 1918 flu pandemic.

But she wishes there was more.

“When COVID started, a lot of people were comparing it to the Spanish flu that happened and we did not have that much in the collection that documented that,” explained Kandl.

Kandl is now calling on Sacramentans to not let paraphernalia from the COVID-19 pandemic go unpreserved.

“We’re asking for digital files, so people can submit photos, recordings, audio,” said Kandl.

Kandl said they will accept anything from Tik Tok videos to virtual work meetings and even funny advertisements.

“And after the stay-in-place orders are up, we’re going to be collecting a number of dimensional artifacts,” said Kandl.

In an era of oversharing on social media, the digital part should be easy.

But when it comes to leaving something physical, like a desk from the Sacramento Bee newsroom or a bed Ulysses S. Grant slept in, contributors might have to think outside the box for something that reminds them of their COVID-19 experience.

“I’d love to have some artwork, a piece of art someone did,” said Kandl.

Some suggestions include a subscription confirmation to a new streaming service, the results from a coronavirus test or items related to new hobbies picked up during the pandemic.

“We have been offered the actual stimulus check that a couple received,” said Kandl. 

The key is that the item chosen tells a personal story.

“We want to make sure we preserve Sacramentans,” Kandl explained. “You know there is so much out there now, people will be able to see the country and the worldwide view, but not what’s happening here in Sacramento.”

Click or tap here to learn more about submitting pandemic-related photos, videos, and artifacts to the Center for Sacramento History.

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