Making History: Library of Congress Curates Virtual Exhibit on Pandemic

"What we’re trying to do is nothing less than acquire and preserve and make accessible a universal record of human knowledge and creativity," curator Katherine Blood said

We’re all living through a big chapter in history — one that will end up in textbooks and museums. The Library of Congress has already gotten started on documenting the past year via a virtual exhibit about the pandemic.

The images capture heartbreak but also humanity: everything we’ve endured during the pandemic.

"This collecting has been extremely moving and beautiful and meaningful," said Katherine Blood, curator of fine prints for the Library of Congress.

The library has already been hard at work for more than a year, pulling together the online exhibit.

"The images and the artworks can connect us; they can show that our experiences are shared," Blood said.

That includes the rush to stock up on supplies, the sidewalks that became streateries, and the endless lines at testing sites. Some pictures honor lives lost due to COVID-19; others give gratitude to those on the front lines.

"What we’re trying to do is nothing less than acquire and preserve and make accessible a universal record of human knowledge and creativity," Blood said.

That includes paintings by D.C. artist Toni Lane, who made works last year to sell as Zoom backgrounds. She never expected the Library of Congress would want to buy them.

"The fact that people like my art, that means they like me a little bit. And that’s a good feeling," Lane said.

The exhibit also includes music, COVID-19 websites and even data dashboards.

It's growing by the day. Anyone can submit photos online to contribute to a snapshot of history that honors the people in this pandemic.

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