Our Living History
We are living in a very important moment in history. The Sumter County Museum wants you to take an active part in preserving it. Fifty years down the road, people will want to learn about this time and how it affected the world, their own communities, their own friends, and their own families. Help the Museum document this unique moment in history. Every person’s perspective is distinct, and we would love to understand what your life has been like and how it has changed. Sometimes stories are best told by the written word, while tangible material objects best tell others; we want to collect both. You can help us by submitting digital content, writing to us relaying your testimony or story, or donating physical materials (*more information below).
We have asked several questions below. Choose one question to comment on or choose them all. There are ideas to get you started.
DIGITAL MATERIALS: We are looking for the following types of digital materials
· Materials that represent the economic, medical, education, personal/community impact, such as typed personal stories or reflections, images, recordings (home videos or oral history recordings), social media posts, websites, blogs, and other digital content that are unique to the experience of the Sumter region. File uploads only.
*IMPORTANT NOTE ON DIGITAL MATERIALS:
· By submitting digital content to the Museum, you are granting the Sumter County Museum non-exclusive (shared), royalty-free license to preserve, modify, and share your content for public research, educational use, exhibits, or publication, including in print or online.
· The Sumter County Museum reserves the right to delete content that it considers duplicative, inappropriate, or outside the scope of this project.
· The Sumter County Museum is not obligated to accession your submitted digital content, feature it in future exhibitions or projects, or preserve it in perpetuity
· Please only submit photographic, audio, or video material which you own or have created.
· You must be 18 years of age or older to submit content.
HAND-WRITTEN TESTIMONIES AND STORIES: We are looking for hand-written testimonies and stories from local residents. You can choose to write in and tell us your story or you can use the questions below to help inspire you. Please mail these correspondence to Sumter County Museum, P.O. Box 1456, Sumter, SC 29151.
PHYSICAL OBJECTS: We would like to encourage Sumter residents to hold on to pandemic related items and donate them to the museum once we reopen. We are looking for the following types of items:
· Items that represent economic impact like modified restaurant menus, business signage, fundraising ephemera, and other objects that demonstrate a change to products or services
· Items that represent the impacts on the medical community such as new hospital and doctor’s office signage, badges, essential worker papers, updated PPE guidelines, and other objects that represent the local response to a global pandemic
· Items that represent the impact on education, such as home school lessons, modified college course schedules, signage postponing annual events like prom or graduation, projects made by newly home-schooled children, ephemera from unique local events like the Sumter Cross Project, as an example.
· Items that represent the personal impact, such as letters, postcards, journals, grocery lists, photographs, and other similar archival objects
· Items that you created during quarantine that you would never have done otherwise - music, art, poetry, etc.
*IMPORTANT NOTE ON PHYSICAL OBJECTS:
Any item considered for accession into the collection will still need to be assessed by Sumter County Museum staff. We are not able to guarantee that we will accept every item that is offered. We will NOT be able to physically receive any objects at this time. Please do not drop them off at the museum, all of our buildings and grounds are closed. Any materials left on Sumter County Museum property will be disposed.
You can contact us at
with donation inquiries and once we reopen we will set up drop-off procedures and times.
Thank you for helping collect and preserve Our Living History for generations to come.
DIGITAL MATERIALS: They should represent the economic, medical, educational, personal/community impact, such as typed personal stories or reflections, images, recordings (home videos or oral history recordings), social media posts, websites, blogs, and other digital content that are unique to the experience of the Sumter region. Please upload your digital materials or links to our dropbox by following this link:
How are you keeping in touch with your friends and family? Are you using technology to socialize with your friends? What do you think has been the most creative way to stay in touch with friends and family members? If you have children, are they socializing with their friends? If so, how? If you live in a retirement community, have you been asked to not go out or not visit with neighbors? Have you been spending more time on social media? Have you been spending more time doing things not in front of a screen?
Tell us about your shopping experiences during the S.C. stay at home order. Here are some questions to help you get started: What was your experience when you went to the grocery store? Were any shelves empty? Were you surprised? What else surprised you? Were the lines long? What do you wish you had bought that you didn’t? How often are you going out of the house and are you ordering groceries? Do you wear a mask or gloves when you go out in public? Do you see this health event permanently changing the way we shop?
Are their members of your family driving each other crazy or are their closer bonds being created? How did you celebrate Easter or Prom or Graduation? How is home schooling going for you and your children? If you live on your own what has your experience been like? Is there something you look forward to particularly during this 'new normal'?
When you go out of your home to businesses or work, are their special precautions being taken to keep items properly sanitized? Speaking of sanitization, do you have a special 20 second song you sing while you wash your hands? Do you have any experience with the polio epidemic of the 1950’s? How does this compare?
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