Montana Historical Society working to preserve state COVID-19 perspectives

Posted at 6:02 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 11:03:38-04

HELENA — The COVID-19 pandemic has already proven to be a defining moment in history that has affected just about everyone.

The Montana Historical Society is working to make sure Montana's stories during these unprecedented times are preserved for the records.

On the Montana Historical Society’s website, there are two surveys, one for adults and the other for students. The goal of the surveys is to gain insight on how Montanans are affected, how they’re living and what they are most concerned about.

“What we’re trying to do is to gather that raw data and get it at a time when it’s fresh in people’s minds and they have a sense of really how they feel, said State Archivist Jodie Foley. “Memory is a tricky thing. We could do a survey 20 years from now and people might look back and have a very different perception of what they went through.”

People are able to share written stories or submit photos, videos, poems and other artwork when taking the survey.

Foley says the hope is that people share both the positives and the frustrations and heartache of living during the pandemic.

“That’s part of it, is that visceral response for people that can be used for generations,” explained Foley. “We want a gambit and how people are really feeling. In the responses we’ve gotten so far, on the student side of things they’re frustrated because they're missing prom and graduation. But then you also have someone who’s talking about how it’s really nice to have time with their family and all the hope they’ve seen from others.”

Foley added that what is collected through these surveys will be a huge benefit to future historians and montanans.

People are asked to fill out the survey now, and then again in a few months to reflect on the changes in their lives.

A link to the surveys can be found here.