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In 1937, spurred by Edward VIII’s abdication of the throne, a research organization formed in the U.K. to gather the thoughts and moods of everyday life in Britain. Volunteers were asked to keep diaries or reply to open-ended questions. The program, deemed Mass-Observation, served a particularly important function during the Blitz in WWII, as people documented the emotional and social history of the country.
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Like the Blitz, the pandemic will be remembered, discussed, and analyzed for decades to come. And the stories of those who lived through it will be vitally important. To that end, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, keeper of our city’s past, has asked the public to help document this time for future generations. “Modern historians have argued that history isn’t simply composed of actions of remarkable or grand figures,” said the museum’s Dacia Harwood. “The thoughts and experiences of every person are valuable keys to unlock what it’s like to live in any era…. We want your stories,” she said, “from the far north of the county to the south … and every community in between.”
The museum has created a form asking questions such as whether you’ve experienced a significant life event during quarantine and how you think life will have changed once lockdown is lifted. To participate in the program, go to sbhistorical.org and click on “Share Your Quarantine Story.”