Southeast Ohio History Logo with four outlines of Ohio together at the point to create a compass with the words "Southeast Ohio History Center" in a circle around it.

COVID-19 History Project


At the Southeast Ohio History Center, we believe that our region’s history is significant and worthy of preservation. We also know that history starts today. Amid the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak of 2019-2020, the Southeast Ohio History Center is collecting stories from the region of southeast Ohio and Appalachia, including oral histories, photographs, video recordings, diaries, letters, clothing, and historical objects that speak to your experiences during this time. While the Southeast Ohio History Center is taking precautionary measures before handling objects donated by patrons, digital means allow us to support quarantine and “social distancing” efforts while still recording this unique historic event. Furthermore, the information you provide will contribute to the historical record, giving future researchers primary sources, and documenting an important moment in local and world history.

How to Participate

We want you to do as much as you can to record your experiences while the COVID-19 outbreak develops. If you are in or from the southeast Ohio region, please consider sharing your experiences with us! This includes making oral history recordings, audio or visual, or providing written responses to questions about your experience over the past/coming weeks. Additionally, the History Center is collecting objects, writings, artwork, and photographs that illustrate how you have responded to COVID-19. If you aren’t sure on how to start, consider keeping a journal you write in once a day, or letters/messages you have sent to loved ones.

If you are interested in participating in an oral history, following the guidelines and questions listed below will help you get started. Simply record yourself (using your phone, computer, etc.) speaking about the experiences that you have had during this outbreak. Have family members, friends, or colleagues join you for the conversation. The recordings do not have to be very long, although staying within the 5 to 30-minute range is ideal. Anything larger than this makes it difficult for researchers to compile accurately.

For objects, journals, writings, and items that cannot be shared digitally, please feel free to send them to 24 W State St, Athens, OH 45701. However, collecting the objects and bringing them to the museum after the quarantine/social distancing period has passed may be safer for the community. We DO NOT want to put you or anyone else at unnecessary risk for this project.

Once you have recorded your testimonial/observations about your experience, make sure your audio file is a .mp3 or .wav. You can do this by compressing the file on your computer or phone. Once the file is compressed, email it to with subject heading “COVID-19 Project Submission.” In your email, include the forms and additional information, as well as information on objects you would like to donate.  This allows us to keep track of donations and recordings more efficiently.

Any submission to this project must include a release form:


Additional information is not required, but may help future researchers:


Digital File Guidelines

  • Audio files should not be longer than 30 minutes in length.
  • Only .mp3 and .wav files will be excepted
  • Rename the file as “COVID19_SOHC_LastName_FirstName

Recording with Groups or Multiple People

  • Have each individual state their full name at the beginning (For Example: John Doe). This helps us identify voices during transcription.
  • During recording, please refrain from speaking over one another. Each person has valuable input and insight on this experience.  Allow them to finish their statement before speaking.
  • Make sure that each person is equal distance from the recording device, so that all voices are heard equally and clearly. We recommend testing the recording device before recording your statements.
  • We will take multiple audio files, but please try and make them under the preferred time limit (30 minutes).
  • Each person in the audio recording must have their own release form filled out. Please submit them with the audio file at the same time.

Questions to Get Started and Help Facilitate Discussion (all are optional)

  • Where are you from? Describe the community in which you live, both before and after the outbreak.
  • When did you first hear about COVID-19/Coronavirus? What was your first reaction?
  • Did your opinion change once local and federal governments started addressing the outbreak?
  • How did your community respond to the virus?
  • How did businesses, universities, community centers, etc. respond to news of the virus?
  • What unique experiences or observations did you make? (Did you see rushes to the store? Were you in school at the time?  How did your friends and family talk about the virus? Etc.)
  • How did your place of work respond to the outbreak?
  • How are you/your loved ones responding to social-distancing/the virus?
  • How do you see the virus affecting your community in the coming weeks?