COVID-19's impact on local history: Society digs for stories from age of pandemic
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has spurred some folks to read books and articles to learn more about the 1918 flu pandemic.
Those resources include the reflections of people who lived through the historic event.
This year's pandemic also someday will be viewed through the prism of history.
"A hundred years from now, future generations -- our grandchildren and great-grandchildren -- will want to know what we're experiencing, just like we're interested in what it was like for people 100 years ago," said Kent Studebaker, the former Marble Cliff mayor who serves as the Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Historical Society board's president.
That's why the society has launched an oral history project it's calling "Tell Us Your Coronavirus Story."
It has invited Grandview and Marble Cliff residents to submit essays, photos or videos showing how the pandemic has affected them and their families.
People of all ages are invited to participate in the project, Studebaker said.
"We want to get all different perspectives of what this experience has meant for residents in our urban suburb community," he said. "We've left it pretty open-ended to allow people to write or tell about their own personal experience. It's an experience that has impacted each of us in different ways."
The submissions can reflect an overview of life under the pandemic or reference a specific moment or event, Studebaker said.
Residents are asked to include their name, age, contact information and whether they live in Grandview or Marble Cliff, Studebaker said.
They also may be mailed to the society, c/o Grandview Heights Public Library, 1685 W. First Ave., Grandview Heights 43212.
Articles, videos and photos may be used in the society's communications or publications, Studebaker said.
A notice calling for 2020 coronavirus stories has been posted on the society's website, ghmchs.org, and its Facebook page, he said. The Grandview Heights Public Library also will include it in an upcoming e-newsletter.
The historical society is working in collaboration with the library on another project to develop a series of themed walking tours of Grandview and Marble Cliff, which will be available on an app.
Each tour will target a different audience and have its own theme, said Karen Riggs, a trustee with the historical society.
"We're trying to keep the time for each tour to about an hour to 90 minutes and to include no more than 2 miles of walking," she said.
The launch date for the first four tours will be sometime in July, Riggs said. The themes will be introductions to Grandview and Marble Cliff history and tours of the residences included in the society's 2016 and 2019 Tour of Homes.
After the first four tours are launched, another one will be added around every three months, she said. Twelve tours are being developed.
The initial tours will include text only, but future tours may include some audio components, Riggs said.
"The tours are designed to take advantage of the walkability of the Grandview and Marble Cliff communities," she said. "We wanted to get them launched now, during the pandemic, since so many people are taking more time to take walks these days."
Links to the apps will be available at the historical society's website and the library's website, ghpl.org.