Community Orgs

UWEC’s COVID-19 Archiving Project Receives Wisconsin Historical Society Award

collaborative project features stories, artifacts, from pandemic times

Kalyn Cronk |

MAKING HISTORY, REMEMBERING HISTORY. Local UW-Eau Claire students helped curators of the new archiving project – the Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Archiving Project. (Submitted photo)

After the start of the pandemic in spring of 2020, Greg Kocken, archivist at UW-Eau Claire’s  McIntyre Library, and Cheryl Jiménez Frei, an assistant professor of history at the university, collaborated with Jodi Kiffmeyer, an archivist at the Chippewa Valley Museum, to start a project to document local perspectives amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal of their effort – the Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Archiving Project – was to find and capture stories and objects from the people of the Chippewa Valley to document the past year and a half so future generations can look back and hopefully better understand it.

The ever-growing pandemic project was recently recognized by the Wisconsin Historical Society’s 2021 Governor Award for Archival Innovation, and what had started in the Chippewa Valley has now grown into the Western Wisconsin COVID-19 Archiving Project.

“COVID-19 is impacting almost every aspect of people’s lives,” Kocken said in a press release, “and that impact will likely continue to reverberate through society for years and decades to come.” 

The archiving project is still accepting oral stories or personal items, and now has hundreds of artifacts and more than 100 oral stories.

To donate and contribute to the archive, visit their donation website at