Penn COVID-19 Community Archiving Project

Penn COVID-19 Community Archiving Project

A Univeristy of Pennsylvania research medicine laboratory circa 1920. Photo courtesy of University Archives and Records Center.

The Penn COVID-19 Community Archiving Project seeks to document the experiences of the University of Pennsylvania community of faculty, students, administrators, staff, researchers, alumni, and others during the COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic. 

Our goal is to collect as many diverse voices and experiences as possible so that future historians, students and scholars, doctors and scientists, public policy and health experts, University administrators, and others will be able to understand and learn how our community reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic and how we were able to respond and help support the broader world. 

At this point we have received a poem from a Penn Medicine doctor, an alum sent a photo of her summer wedding while wearing masks, students have submitted journal entries, the Penn Band has shared documents showing their plans for their virtual performances at Commencement.

The Penn COVID-19 Community Archiving Project has been created by the University Archives and Records Center of the University of Pennsylvania to document and preserve the Penn community’s direct experience of this event. We hope to learn about your recent and daily experience on campus, in the lab, in the field, at home or elsewhere. The Penn Community Archive is a means to collect and record what you witnessed and experienced and how we responded to this crisis.

Faculty: What was it like to suddenly shift to remote instruction and learning? How has this had an impact on your research and other academic work? Tell us how you have adapted to this change in your work and in fostering your relationships with colleagues and your students.

Staff: What is the experience of suddenly and abruptly moving to remote work? What are you doing to support your colleagues and others at the University? What ingenious ways have you found to continue with regular University business in this time?

Students: Tell us what it’s like to be the first group of Penn students dealing with a pandemic in 100 years. How are you sustaining your studies and your relationships during this period of social distancing and self-quarantine?

Alumni and Others: Are you an essential employee who is holding everything together right now? Are you at home juggling caring for your kids with working remotely? How has life changed for you? What has your experience been in your communities—how have things changed?

To do this project, we need your help. We would like to collect the materials you are creating right now that document this time and submit them to this project for archiving and future research. Some examples of items that could be included in the Penn Community Archive are:

  • a sign or art you or someone else in your community created 
  • screen shots of your social media posts 
  • videos or recordings of events, classes, workouts, original spoken words, and music shared online during this time 
  • photographs of the campus, your home/work-space, or scenes from around your community that illustrate changes in society taken during this time  
  • captures of classroom work or lectures you have given online 
  • homeschool schedules or other daily routines for parents working from home 
  • your own journal entries (written, audio, or video) documenting your experience

Submissions may be in the form of digital photographs, text files, PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations, audio files, or video files. Please submit materials using the Penn COVID-19 Community Archiving Project Submission Form. If you are submitting electronic materials with the form, please note that only one electronic file can be submitted per form.  If you have multiple files, please contact us.



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