Cincinnati Museum Center collecting COVID-19 stories

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is asking for stories, photos and materials as part of an initiative to document the COVID-19 pandemic for future generations. Individuals can add to the collection Pandemic Stories: Greater Cincinnati and the 2020 COVID-19 Crisis by visiting

The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted daily life. Schools closed, forcing seniors to graduate virtually or in drive-through ceremonies. Bars and restaurants also closed, some never to reopen, making to-go carryout a form of civic duty. Masks have become politicized and social distancing has redefined spatial awareness. Even as workplaces, restaurants, gyms and more start to reopen, protocols for visiting them may be changed forever. Pandemic Stories will document our community’s progression through intense upheaval, and toward what may be a new normal. CMC has future plans to create programming and research projects based on the collection, which may include online or physical exhibits.

“Collecting these stories will be cathartic for many struggling to make sense of this moment and will be enlightening for this and future generations,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “As a keeper of the region’s history, we are doing our part to document this moment and the stories of those who lived through it for posterity.”

Pandemic Stories will capture the stories of multiple generations and walks of life, each with a different perspective on this moment. These personal stories and photos will serve as reminders of this time – the painful challenges, the moments of hope and the points at which life as we know it continues to change.

Among the stories CMC is particularly interested in capturing are those of high school seniors entering a world wildly different from the one they were promised. This generation – entering adult society at a time of radical change – will be a key force in shaping the post-COVID-19 world. CMC is partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools’ Class of 2020 Legends project to recognize students’ unique viewpoints, collect their stories and offer two free CMC admissions to each student and their family.

“At a time when we desperately need the world to come together for change, we know the high school and college graduating classes can be the ones to do just that,” says Pierce. “To all those graduating I say congratulations. The world is ready for your talent, and we want to help share your stories with future generations.”

The COVID-19 pandemic hits almost exactly 100 years after the outbreak of the Spanish Flu pandemic that infected 28% of the country and killed between 20-50 million people worldwide. Photos, stories and signage from that outbreak demonstrate how widely it permeated daily life. Pandemic Stories is likewise documenting the COVID-19 moment for those who will study and learn from this pandemic in the future.

Those interested in contributing to the Pandemic Stories: Greater Cincinnati and the 2020 COVID-19 Crisis can do so by visiting