Collaborations between archivists and public historians are transforming the acquisitions process for archival repositories. These collaborations help archivists establish deeper connections within their community and build public consensus of the value of archives as repositories of identity and memory. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted this recognition as projects to document its impact on our lives garnered significant attention.
As rapid-response collection efforts to document the pandemic emerged, three cultural heritage programs in Northwest Wisconsin began developing independent projects to record the local impact of COVID-19. An opportunity for collaboration emerged allowing these institutions to combine their strengths and build a stronger and more comprehensive collection. In April 2020, the Chippewa Valley Museum, the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC) Archives, and the University’s Public History program launched a collaborative archiving project: “The Chippewa Valley Covid-19 Archive Project,” which documents the pandemic through several complimentary strategies. Public history students collected oral history interviews and digital artifacts, museum partners solicited community-contributed content through its regional network, and the UWEC archives built a digital platform for harvesting and sharing content. The archive continues to grow as a valuable repository and pedagogical tool, used in several UWEC history courses, and partnering with global archiving project “A Journal of the Plague Year” to document the pandemic in the rural Midwest.
This presentation will examine the rewards and challenges of building this collaborative rapid-response collection. Panelists, representing the project partners, will explore how each partner leveraged their own strengths and overcame obstacles to build a successful project.
How to Cite:
Kocken, G. & Kiffmeyer, J. & Jiménez-Frei, C. & Carlson, S., (2021) “Rapid Response Collaboration: Establishing a Community for Collecting During a Crisis”, MAC Annual Meeting Presentations 2021(1).