Simcoe County Archives. Copyright: Simcoe County Archives
The Simcoe County Archives has been collecting, preserving and making available records pertaining to the history of Simcoe County since 1966. Because today’s news will soon be history, the Archives is interested in newer records as well as older items. This means the Archives is eager to acquire material pertaining to local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A "Community Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic collection"
The Archives closed in March and will remain closed until the County’s Emergency Restrictions are lifted. Nevertheless, we are committed to building a collection that documents the lives and activities of County of Simcoe residents, businesses, industries, and organizations as they adapted, and continue to adapt, to the pandemic.
We know that many of you are creating and collecting memories and information about the pandemic. Since we are currently unable to accept records into our holdings, we are asking for your help. Will you consider collecting materials for yourself, your families, or your employees, and then, after “normal operations resume,” donating them to be preserved for posterity at the Archives? This is your chance to be an amateur archivist!
Railway station telegraph operator. Copyright: Public Domain
We will schedule appointments with donors after the Archives re-opens and safety precautions are in place. Items submitted anonymously will not be accepted. The Archives anticipates that it will receive many offers of records pertaining to how Simcoe County responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Records that do not comply with the Archives’ Collections Mandate may also be rejected. Additionally, for long-term preservation reasons, the Archives may accept only a selected portion of records that otherwise meet the collecting criteria.
Archivists try to build their holdings by acquiring collections of records that were created or received by an individual, family, business, industry, or organization. Single items, while often interesting, lose their contextual value when they are removed from the larger grouping of materials.
Simcoe County Archives collections criteria:
Do the records document, in some way, the history, geography, geology, culture or socio-economic structure of Simcoe County?
Were the records generated in Simcoe County?
If neither of the above, do the records document the life or activities of a past or present resident of Simcoe County?
Are the records unique, or do multiple copies exist?
Do the records enrich the Archives' collection?
This means that we would decline such items as “Stay the Blazes Home" memorabilia from Nova Scotia, which will likely be collected by Archives located in Nova Scotia. Similarly, the Archives expects to acquire copies of records produced and distributed by local municipalities and newspapers from the offices themselves, rather than through private sources.
What records document your story?
2009-36 Vera McMahan, Gold Medallist, RVH School of Nursing, ca 1918. Copyright: Public Domain
Were you at home making bread or teaching classes?
Were you out serving on the front lines of healthcare or the supply chain?
Did your business close, or were you deemed an “essential service”?
Did your operation re-tool its product lines, or offer support to one that did?
Have you been keeping a journal, or writing “real” letters?
Did you participate in a drive-by celebration and have the images to prove it?
Did you, or a “close contact,” get sick with COVID-19?
Did you experience a “life event” such as a birth, marriage, divorce, death, graduation, illness, redeployment, unemployment, relocation, or career change?
Is there one item that especially represents your Pandemic experience?
Statistics and official records will provide evidence that there was a global pandemic in 2020. Your tales of battles for toilet paper, images of creative social-distancing interactions, and lesson plans for teaching-from home, however, will make the history of the COVID-19 pandemic come alive for future researchers.
Records of particular interest:
998-111 Samuel Jacob's Diary, October, 1917. Copyright: Simcoe County Archives
Architectural and technical drawings of pandemic-driven renovations and production lines
Diaries and journals
E-mails and other correspondence
Social media posts
Images and videos
Original lesson plans and other teaching aids
Neighbourhood newsletters, posters, and signs
Results of local or family history research