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What item would you put in a COVID-19 time capsule? Here's how you can make history

D.C. History Center documents what it is like to be a Washingtonian living through the last year.

WASHINGTON — As Washington, D.C. reopens and begins to lift COVID-19 restrictions, there are organizations trying to capture some of those stories in a time capsule.

D.C. History Center is helping to preserve the stories from the last year and a half and share the experiences of Washingtonians.

Anne McDonough, the Deputy Director of the D.C. History Center, said it is important to hear directly from the people who live in D.C. about what it was like to live through this season in real-time.

"When you’re in the middle of something, it can be really hard of course to think about how this is going to be perceived or researched or examined in the years to come," said McDonough.

The collection, "In Real Time" is a collecting initiative of the D.C. History Center that began in April 2020. It asks the public to help in documenting the historic events which took place during the last year.

"It’s just one way that we hope folks are looking at how their personal experiences are incredibly valid and important for people to know about in the decades to come," said McDonough.

In their 127-year history, this is one of the first times the D.C. History Center has focused on collecting stories of an event while it is still occurring.

"Like everyone else in Washington, D.C., when the city shut down on March 13, 2020, we thought it was going to be a maybe two weeks situation. In fact, we had signs here at the D.C. history center that said we will be closed until March 31. Of course, March 31 came and went and we were in a totally different situation than first anticipated," said McDonough.

Credit: DC History Center

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Credit: DC History Center

"It can be hard sometimes to see what the internal minds for Washingtonians was like 50, 60 or 100 years ago and to encourage people to take pictures out on the streets of things that in the decades to come, will be demonstrative of the dramatic changes that COVID-19 brought to Washington," said McDonough. 

Other institutions like the D.C. Public Library, Humanities D.C. and the National Museum of African Americans History and Culture are also saving stories from this time.

To contribute to the collection, just upload your picture or story to the D.C. History Center. There are also prompts you can fill out to explain how COVID-19 has impacted your family and what acts of kindness you have seen during this time.

Credit: DC History Center

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