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Documenting the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums collects, preserves, and provides public access to records that document the history of Alaska. We know that future researchers will want to learn about how this life-altering, worldwide coronavirus outbreak affected Alaskans. Therefore, we are seeking original, first-person materials that document this pandemic – because Your Story is Our Story.

This documentary project goes beyond the scope of what the Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums is able to capture and preserve through Alaska public records and publications, yet is critical to understanding the impact of government decisions on individuals, communities, businesses, organizations, and government entities.  In short, community and citizen-produced documentary evidence is a valuable complement to the public records concerning Alaska’s response and recovery efforts that are already scheduled to be preserved.  Larger scale projects may emerge from what we gather today and over the next several months.

We are seeking original, first-person materials that document this pandemic – because Your Story is Our Story.  We recognize that this is an unprecedented period of hardship and loss for so many in Alaska and acknowledge the trauma surrounding this global event.  We do not wish to pressure anyone to relive their experiences or cause more pain.  It’s okay to not be okay.  We would like you to know that we are here whenever you are ready to share, whether it’s next month or in ten years, you and your story are valuable to understanding how this pandemic affected Alaska, past, present and future.

Want to share your experience?

We are collecting materials created by Alaskans that document how they, their businesses, or their communities have survived, thrived, adjusted, and pulled together during the pandemic.  Examples of the types of material we hope to collect include, but are not limited to, journal entries, interviews of family or community members, photographs of signage on storefronts, or videos of socially-distanced birthday parades. We want to know how our communities are doing. How have things stayed the same? How have they changed? When future generations look back and ask questions about this historic event, we want them to be able to explore personal experiences from their own communities and critically examine the policies and decisions made that have affected all Alaskans.

To submit your own material(s), fill out the Submission Form.

Submission Examples

Photographs documenting the effects of social distancing; shortages of supplies; healthcare workers; social media campaigns to boost community spirits, such as teddy bears in windows or chalk drawings on sidewalks; and empty sports arenas, churches, movie theaters, and other places for gathering; etc.

Audiovisual materials document the personal and economic impact including images and sound and film recordings such as home movies. These might include videos of life out in supermarkets, curbside pickup, downtowns with no one around, or short audio and/or video accounts recorded on a cell phone.

Ephemera, such as signage about store closures or shortages of supplies; documents received by mail that relate to the pandemic; modified take-out menus; home lesson plans; changes in store ads; event announcements; programs; invitations; and bulletins; etc.

Journals, diaries, and reflections of how people’s lives have been impacted by COVID-19.

Subjects can range from impacts on employment, leisure, social activities, education, businesses, relationships, mental and public health, civic activities, or religious activities.

Oral histories document an aspect of how COVID-19 has changed the lives and/or work of every Alaskan. Special areas of focus may be healthcare, service industries, government services, law enforcement, and education, but we want to interview you about your specific experiences during this crisis.

Preferred Formats

  • Text Documents: .pdf, .doc, .docx
  • Photos: .jpg, .tif, .png
  • Videos: .avi, .mov, .wmv
  • Sound Files: .wav, .wma, .mp3, .m4a

Learn more about archival file formats.

Partnership Opportunities

We are looking for individuals or other cultural institutions interested in helping us ensure we create a collection that represents all Alaskans.  In short, we need help spreading the word! If you or your institution would like to act as a community liaison, we have created a communication toolkit to help you with outreach.

We are also seeking individuals interested in sitting on our accession committee. The time commitment for this committee will vary depending on the number of submissions, but will likely require 1-2 hours, no more than once every two weeks. During these meetings, we will review submitted materials and evaluate them for inclusion within the collection based on a set of established criteria. If you are interested in this opportunity, please email with a brief statement of interest and availability.

Important Notes

Alaska Connection: Items must have a strong connection to Alaska or an Alaskan to be accepted into our collection.

File Formats: If you cannot send materials in the formats list above, we may still be able to collect your items. Please let us know what formats your items are saved in.

Language: We will accept items in any language.

Other Limitations: We will accept material submitted by minors (under 18) as long as we have sign-off from a parent or guardian. We will not accept materials that may contain PII (Personally Identifiable Information), such as medical information; anything that contains hate speech; or anything with graphic (sexual or violent) content. Currently, we are not accepting material that is accessed online, such as blog posts, Facebook posts, or podcasts, but we will accept static versions of anything not under copyright or available through other means.


All donations are subject to review. Because of the overwhelming response to our request for material, and other considerations, we may not be able to accept all donations. If that is the case, we may try to recommend another home for your material.