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Missoula County historians hoping to document COVID-19

Posted at 4:51 PM, Apr 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 19:41:20-04

MISSOULA — In the era of social distancing, and self isolation, Missoula County historians are asking the public to help document this moment in time.

Missoula County is starting a new community project to document people's response to the coronavirus outbreak. Documenting COVID-19 in Missoula County: A Community Archive Project is aiming to record everything from photographs, to tweets, to emails.

Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier says it started as an idea to focus on government response, but has grown to include a range of experiences.

"The perspective that we also need is not just how those individuals that are making decisions in the moment, but how are everyday citizens in Missoula and Missoula County experiencing this event," said Strohmaier.

Missoula County, the City of Missoula, the Downtown Missoula Partnership, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, and the University of Montana are playing a role in the project.

Anya Jabour with UM says she hopes to include information from young children, tribal communities, and rural areas, "it's an opportunity to hopefully see something positive come out of this really horrific time."

Matt Lautzenheiser with the Histotical Museum at Fort Missoula -- who is helping coordinate the project -- says looking at the pandemic through a historic lens can help provide perspective.

"We all mark different watershed events in our lives, some of those are personal events, some of those are national, regional events. This is one of those," said Lautzenhesier.

To submit documents go to the UM archives website here.