Public museum launches COVID-19 story documentation project

Alex Forist, chief curator for the Grand Rapids Public Museum Screenshot courtesy Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is creating a time capsule of COVID-19 and looking for submissions.

GRPM last week said that it is collecting digital submissions of community stories, videos and photos related to COVID-19 to ensure the local pandemic experience is documented for future generations.

The COVID-19 pandemic will be recorded as a significant event in history, and GRPM encourages all community members to take a moment to reflect and share how COVID-19 has impacted you, your family and community.

“We want to do our part in making sure that we’re documenting history as it happens, especially since this pandemic has dramatically shifted life for the people of West Michigan and beyond,” said Alex Forist, chief curator for GRPM. “We hope to collect a variety of stories from community members so we can accurately portray what life was truly like during the pandemic, while also creating an archive for future generations to remember this time.”

Once it is safe to do so, the museum will begin collecting objects related to the pandemic, as well. From products and signage made by local businesses to homeschool lesson plans and grocery lists, the museum hopes to document everyday life during this time.

Donors may indicate objects they are interested in giving to the museum collections in the online form at

To ensure all health care workers have the resources needed during this time, the museum will not accept objects or medical items such as N95 masks until the crisis is over.

To submit a story, video or photos, visit and click “submit.”

People of all ages are encouraged to submit.

Children 17 and younger may submit their experiences but must have a parent or guardian sign off on the form.

Those with additional questions can call (616) 929-1809.

To learn more about the GRPM’s community documentation project, visit

Library gets in on the action

The Grand Rapids Public Library also is collecting stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic to create a shared community memory of this time.

Stories submitted to GRPL will become a part of the library’s permanent archival collections and will give scholars, historians and medical researchers a record to study in the future.

Learn more at


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