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Museum Helps Students Document Life During COVID-19

The Valentine Museum
The Valentine Museum is launching a new program to engage students during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Alex Broening / VPM News)

*This story was reported by VPM News intern Alex Broening

As museums nationwide have closed their doors to visitors to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Valentine in Richmond is looking to engage the community online. 

To document the historic outbreak and its effects on students in Richmond, the museum is launching a new program, called “Richmond Stories from Richmond Kids.” K-12 students from the Richmond area are being asked to submit work that reflects their thoughts and feelings about how their lives have changed due to COVID-19. 

“These students are living through history, they’re living through a challenging time in our community, but also a very historic time in our community,” the museum’s communications director, Eric Steigleder, said. “We wanted to hear the stories, the narratives, the voices of kids and what they’re experiencing.”

The Valentine has a history of working with young people and schools in the region. Instead of physically engaging with them at the museum, Steigleder says “Richmond Stories from Richmond Kids” allows the museum staff to work with students online.

The goal, Steigleder says, is to record these historic events from the perspective of kids - who are too often left voiceless in recorded history.

 “This is giving them an opportunity, empowering them to share their story, and share what they're thinking, and ultimately making their voice part of the historical record for this really challenging historic moment,” Steigleder said.

Students can submit work in a range of media formats like drawing, photography, and audio diaries, encouraging them to be creative. The Valentine plans to share contributions on its website and social media, as a way to continue  engaging the community. The submissions page for the project can be found here.

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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