Office of Historic Alexandria asks residents to help document protests and pandemic

The City of Alexandria wants future generations to learn about the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests prompted by George Floyd’s death.

The city is collecting personal stories, pictures and objects about how people were impacted by these two major events.

“For both of them, we really want to try to capture how the community has been touched by these events. How have the lives of people been changed,” said Susan Cumbey, director, Fort Ward Museum and Historical Society, Office of Historic Alexandria, “the whole point of these collecting projects, which are taking place across the county, is to really try to document this time and place, this remarkable time right now,” she said.

Residents across the city are asked to share their personal stories, pictures and other objects that reflect their experiences.

“We’d like to assemble submissions from people in Old Town, Del Ray, Arlandria, Rosemont, the west end of the city — it’s really to gather a broad picture of our community’s experience,” Cumbey said, “We’re really looking for a range of different items … from photographs to signs, journals, art work, homemade objects, flyers, T-shirts, other kinds of objects,” Cumbey said.

On separate websites, one for the pandemic, the other for the George Floyd protests, residents are currently submitting their personal accounts and also pictures of the objects they would like to donate. Objects are not currently being accepted in-person while city museums are closed.

The online submissions will be reviewed by staff of the Office of Historic Alexandria for eventual inclusion in the city’s collection.

The personal stories, pictures and objects selected will be carefully stored for future generations and could be used in a variety of different ways including educational programs and museum exhibits.

“In the future, researchers, students, people are going to look back on these different materials that we have collected … to make sense of what our country has experienced,” Cumbey said.

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