Supporting and documenting the Tufts community is one of Tufts Digital Collections and Archives’ (DCA) core values. As our community navigates these unsettled times, we hope that everyone is finding ways to keep themselves and those they love safe and healthy.
The last time Tufts closed for a pandemic was over a hundred years ago, in fall 1918. Evidence, especially firsthand accounts, of that period in Tufts history are limited in the archives, but you could help make sure that future students, faculty, staff and scholars know what it was like to live through the pandemic in 2020. While health and safety should be everyone’s first priority, our archivists have been working to develop a community documentation project. Creating documentation of this historic moment not only provides firsthand accounts of life during a pandemic, but can also serve as an emotional outlet for the people living through it.
To that end, we invite you to keep a journal or create other documentation of what is happening in your life now: at school, with your family and friends, in the news. What has closed? What’s still open? How are you living your daily life? How are you staying in touch? We are especially interested in stories about the shift to remote learning, displacement from student housing, impact on student or off campus jobs and other changes to your daily life.
The method that you use to record your thoughts during this time period is up to you. Documentation can be in any format – handwritten or typed in a physical journal, recorded as audio or video, distributed in any kind of social media post. It can take any shape, from a traditional diary entry or a blog to a graphic novel or simply photographs or recordings documenting important moments. You can also include oral history interviews of friends and family to record how others are coping and experiencing life in this uncertain time. DCA can offer guidance on how to conduct ethical interviews and provide sample questions.
If you have privacy concerns, we can discuss closing the material for a period of time, so they will be available after a certain number of years, but not immediately open to the public.
If you’re interested in donating to the Tufts COVID-19 Pandemic Collection at Digital Collections and Archives, please fill out this web form. Additional details and guidelines for submission are also available. Any questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like further writing prompts or suggestions for questions that could be asked in an oral history, please see our list here.
In addition to personal submissions, we will also work with University departments to transfer related records to the archives in accordance with the University Records Policy and have also begun a web archiving initiative to preserve online information created at or related to Tufts.
Thank you for considering documenting this extraordinary time for future generations. We send all good wishes for the safety and health of you and your loved ones.