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History Responds >


Our History Responds initiative collects history as it's unfolding. In an effort to preserve historically important moments for future generations, the New-York Historical Society seeks relevant materials during or immediately following major events like celebrations, protests, and natural disasters.

While we have collected materials reflecting contemporary events since our founding in 1804, we launched History Responds in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001. New-York Historical’s president at the time, Kenneth T. Jackson, urged staff to take the lead in capturing the history that was all around them.

Since September 11, History Responds has documented Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter protests, the 2017 Women’s Marches, March for Our Lives, and the Climate Strike, among other events.


Collecting During the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic

We are collecting materials related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its sudden, tragic disruption of lives around the world. Future generations will want to understand what it was like to live through this moment. 

To tell that story, we need your help. Consider donating a meaningful item today.

Our focus is on New York and the surrounding region and our goal is to document all aspects of the crisis, including the heroic efforts of healthcare and other essential workers; the experiences of the sick; the effects on businesses, schools, and cultural groups; and the creativity borne of isolation. What items—no matter how modest or mundane—tells the story of the COVID-19 pandemic to you? 

  • Are you keeping a diary, making lists, or taking photographs that reflect sheltering in place?
  • Do your food-delivery menus, apartment-building notices, or neighborhood flyers reference the pandemic?
  • Are you creating signs to post outside of your storefront?
  • Have you gotten COVID-19 mass emails from banks, restaurants, or rental car companies?
  • Are you drawing, making collages, or painting? 

We don’t want to remove critical resources in this time of need, and we can’t guarantee that we’ll take everything that’s offered to us. But if it’s an item you can spare, and you believe it’s worth preserving, fill out this form and begin the donation process.

Have questions? Need assistance? Email us at historyresponds@nyhistory.org.



Youth Respond

We invite youth to keep and share diary entries on their experiences with the coronavirus pandemic. Students can record their diaries in whatever form they would like—digital, analog, video, voice memo—and share them.

Diary entries can be completed through this form or emailed to teens@nyhistory.org.

Diaries can also be mailed to:
New-York Historical Society
Attn: Teen Programs
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Learn more about History Responds:
History Responds: Collecting During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Living to Tell the Tale: A Historian on the Objects Life Leaves Behind

Some of the objects collected through History Responds: (Top, from left) The hard hat of Lt. Mickey Kross, a firefighter with Engine 16, who was rescued from the rubble of Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, and then worked at the site for months afterwards. 2003;  A stenciled flag from Occupy Wall Street. 2011. Gift of Margi Hofer. A recent find surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Lizzy (age 4) with her rainbow artwork. Photography by Leeka Murphy. (Bottom) A New York City Transit service notice from the week after September 11. Patricia D. Klingenstein Library. (Front-page carousel image) "This Too Shall Pass" painted rock by Lisa Johansen. 






Creative: Tronvig Group