Local historical organizations are asking East Enders to contribute their pandemic stories to the societies' archive.
"Both Oysterponds Historical and Southold Historical as well as the Southold Town Historian's office are looking to record the pandemic," Amy Folk, Oysterponds Historical Society (OHS) Manager of Collections, explained. "We are all looking for people's stories of their experiences locally."
They hope to amass a variety of perspectives to speak to what it was like to live through a pandemic. "From first responders to what it is like to be at home 24/7 we want your story so future generations will understand what its like to live through a global pandemic," Folk relayed. "We want the sadness, joy, terror and cabin fever moments on paper."
The Society is already in possession of a similar correspondence from another pandemic that occurred just over 100 years ago. "Oysterponds has a poignant letter from a resident describing the loss of life in the 1918 Influenza outbreak," she noted. "With this pandemic you can't help but have a better understanding what the town went through."
The project is in line with OHS's mission, which is to collect, preserve, interpret, and share—through education, exhibitions, and scholarship—the history of the hamlets of Orient and East Marion. "They will be saved for future generations to use for research, we might use them in 10 years as a retrospective... (think if how we have saved and used items from 9/11). If anyone wants to send something but they want to request we not use their words for 5, 10, or 20+ years we can restrict that item and put it away until then."
The societies hope to collect a robust record for future generations to examine. "What we don't want is to have to say to future generations, yeah the pandemic happened but we have no idea how or if it effected people on the East End of Long Island, because no one could be bothered to leave a record of their experience during the crisis," Folk concluded.
Founded in 1944, the Oysterponds Historical Society (OHS) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that celebrates the culture and heritage of the North Fork of Long Island, NY.
To send a submission, email Amy Folk at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit oysterpondshistoricalsociety.org.
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