Luther College looks to the community to preserve this moment in history

April 20, 2020

Luther College is collecting COVID-19 related materials to archive this historic time

The current COVID-19 pandemic has completely shifted the way people, locally and across the world, live. It is a time like none other and now Luther College is working to preserve this moment in history for future generations with the help of the local community. Hayley Jackson, college archivist at Luther, is spearheading this project.

            "There are no limits to what you can contribute. We are looking for pictures of the neighborhood or at-home work and study spaces, screenshots of a Zoom meeting, social media posts about what you did on a certain day, a recipe for that new sourdough starter you're keeping alive, a shopping list, a video of yourself or a loved one talking about life during this pandemic--all of these would be important contributions and help tell the story of our community during this time. Nothing is too insignificant, so be creative," said Jackson. "These types of materials are some of the most visceral ways people connect with history."                     

             Jackson's job is to preserve the institution's history and that includes taking a look at what is happening today to determine what could be of interest 20, 50 or 100 years from now.

            "There are times where it can be hard to predict what might be of historical interest down the road. In this case, there is no doubt that this global pandemic will be of great interest," said Jackson.  

            To make a digital submission visit To make a physical contribution, mail it to: Preus Library 310 - Upper Floor, Luther College, 700 College Dr. Decorah, IA 52101. Physical submissions can also be brought to Preus Library after social distancing directives have been lifted. These donations will become part of physical and digital collections within the Luther College Archives, where they will be preserved and available for research.

"One of the most exciting parts about this project is that it offers our students and community members the chance to contribute directly to the historical narrative. It's a chance to tell their story, to say 'I was here, this is what I experienced.' Every story is worth preserving," said Jackson. "Participants of this project are living purposefully because they are contributing to a project where benefits won't be realized for several years. By choosing to participate, people are recognizing that they have something to offer that might help future researchers. They're intentionally contributing to something larger than themselves, hoping that it helps society down the road."

If you have any questions, contact Jackson at

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