Los Angeles museum builds archive of coronavirus items — from photos to face masks

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A museum in California is documenting the coronavirus pandemic by building an archive of items from photos to face masks.

Autry Museum of the American West curator Tyree Boyd-Pates said: “We […] think we can contribute to recording the collective national memory of where the country stood in the middle of this crisis.”


The Los Angeles museum is seeking residents of the American West to send along images of face masks, recipes, home photos, and journal entries recording this time of quarantine and isolation.

The U.S. has seen at least 1.3 million infections and nearly 81,000 confirmed deaths from the virus, the highest toll in the world by far, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

With the U.S. economy in free-fall and more than 30 million people unemployed, conservatives have been anxious to reopen states for business.

Eyeing the November elections, the Trump administration has been eager to restart the economy, urging on protesters who oppose their state governors’ stay-at-home orders and expressing his own confidence that the coronavirus will fade away as summer advances and Americans return to work and other pursuits.

“History is being made NOW,” the project, titled “Collecting Community History: A Regional Collections Initiative of Exploration and Preservation,”  begins.

The statement adds: “COVID-19 has altered our daily lives in ways that are profound and will shape our behavior, communities, and society for generations to come.”


Current submissions can be found on the museum’s blog, the Autry Files.

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