March 26, 2020
The History Museum on the Square is in the storytelling business. And the history business, for that matter. The team at the museum is putting those skills to good use as Springfield goes under a stay-at-home virus to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Most of the stories we tell are made possible because someone documented them. Before texting, email, video chat and phone calls, people primarily communicated by writing letters,” the Museum said in a social media post. “Letter writing has now become a bit of a lost art over the years. We are hoping to change that.”
One way they’re doing that is by sharing letters from their archives. They’re also sharing letter writing tips. Check out their social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram) for details. The first letter they shared was from John Gamer to his daughter in 1862! It’s unclear where H.F. Gamer, the daughter, lived. They only know that John wrote the letter in Taney County, Tennessee.
Now it’s your turn. The History Museum on the Square is asking you to write them a letter telling them what your daily life is like now.
“Take a picture of the letter and share it with us,” the Museum wrote. “Encourage your kids to write letters. You will be helping us build an archival collection that will be used by future researchers to understand what things were like today.”
You can send pictures of your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Museum will randomly select a letter and give the writer two free admission passes to visit when they reopen!
That’s not the only service the History Museum on the Square is offering. They have posted videos to Facebook of their volunteers talking about some of their exhibits. They’re calling it #MuseumFromHome. Click on the Videos tab to check those out.
The History Museum on the Square launched a book club at the beginning of March. The original plan was to meet in person at the Museum on April 8 to discuss. The new plan is a Virtual Book Club via a Facebook Private Group. That meeting is also set for April 8, at 7 p.m.
Their first book is No. 1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the Man Booker Prize Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. The book focuses on Abraham Lincoln and his beloved son Willie. From the book cover: “George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying.”