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'We are living history right now' | Historical society asks DC to document coronavirus experiences

The Historical Society of Washington DC has started an initiative called "In Real Time", which asks residents to document experiences as part of living history.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Residents of the DMV are being asked to document their experiences during the spread of coronavirus as part of a new initiative from the Historical Society of Washington DC.

The campaign, called "In Real Time," asks people to send in videos, journal writings, artwork, photos, or anything else that shows what life is like during the current time.

According to the historical society, we are all living history right now. 

"If there is something that you see that speaks to how your neighborhood is changed under this experience, that’s great to photograph and send in," Library and Collections Director Anne McDonough said. "They’re great pieces for historians down the road to use as evidence of what it was like to be here in Washington in 2020." 

McDonough said that the historical society has already received a comic strip depicting a person's experiences and a picture of a bar with signs showing the challenges facing restaurants.

Decades from now, she said the contributions from people could help others understand an important moment in history.

"Putting the human element with this, it’ll help paint a more complete picture down the road," McDonough said. "What we’re collecting will bring the human element into discussions." 

McDonough added that "In Real Time" marks the first occasion the Historical Society of Washington DC has tried to document current times.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC - With the DMV facing plenty of challenges and questions during the spread of coronavirus, a look at the history of the area could provide valuable lessons of how tough times have been dealt with before. While coronavirus offers unique circumstances, the Historical Society of Washington D.C.

To participate, anyone interested can take surveys on the historical society's website, send an email in with their contribution, or use the hashtag #washingtoniansathome on Instagram for videos and pictures.

Moving forward, McDonough hopes the effort could make a difference both now and for future generations.

"We want to make sure people are taking care of themselves and one of the ways to do that is through catharsis, journaling, or writing," McDonough said. "There are a lot of experiences in D.C. that are going to be universal to the experience of living through COVID-19, but they’re also going to be unique to D.C. experiences."

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