In 1942, a 13-year-old girl journaled her experiences as she lived through one of the most traumatic events of her young life. Over the span of nearly eight decades, Anne Frank’s journal has been translated into about 60 languages and read in classrooms, libraries, and homes around the world. It just shows you how one seemingly insignificant and simple task can ripple throughout history, impacting each life it touches. This is exactly what the Southampton History Museum is attempting to do amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Southampton History Museum launched “The Corona Journals,” a project intended to motivate and inspire people to share their experiences in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the quarantine.
“As a historical society, our number one priority is to preserve history,” said Southampton History Museum’s special events assistant, Liana Mizzi. “We thought it would be a cool idea to get everyone’s personal input on what’s going on during this time for them and have first-hand accounts of what it was actually like to live through something like this.”
Having started at the very beginning of the quarantine, the museum hopes to have a robust and lengthy collection of submissions to add to its library at the end of this pandemic. Entries can be handwritten, typed, filmed, or drawn — whatever is your most natural form of expression.
“It’s pretty cool to see the diverse perspectives of everyone and how different people are handling this,” said Mizzi. “We have a lot of poets out there right now, which is interesting. But if you have a small video of what you did or some pictures of that apple pie you baked, send them in! We want it all.”
New York City teacher and project participant, Rebecca Frank, gladly welcomed the task, as she was self-isolating in her bedroom with not much else to do.
“It felt good to put my emotions out there,” said Frank. “It had me reflect on this whole experience. I thought the project was a great idea and brought it to my own classroom as a spring break project for my students.”
And while the events that took place in 1942 to inspire a young Anne Frank to express her experience on paper are much different from the events we face today, they do share a common thread: the need to express oneself when the world around you is so busy that no one seems to be listening. Eighty years from now will the generations after us dust off this little time capsule and wonder what it was like to live through something like this? Will they listen?
For more information on how to submit an entry, visit www.southamptonhistory.org/the-corona-journals.
You can also mail physical items to P.O. Box 303, Southampton, NY, 11969 and email any of your journals, pictures, videos, etc. to Mizzi at email@example.com.