Legacy of a Pandemic

As historians, it is our job look at the current global pandemic with a historical lens. How can we ensure that the stories and experiences of the people in our community living through the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic are preserved for future generations?

It is part of the mission of the St. Catharines Museum to collect and tell the collective story of our community, and, understanding this unprecedented time, we hope to document how the current health crisis is impacting our community for future generations.

An empty King Street, looking towards a bare Market Square and the old Courthouse, 1910. This eerie scene is now familiar across St. Catharines. STCM 2006.77.635

A Call to the Community

What are your stories and experiences as society shuts down around us and we work to fight off this invisible enemy? The St. Catharines Museum is looking to collect journal or diary entries, creative writing, or photographic representations of how the current global pandemic has affected you, your family, and your community.

These materials can include, but are not limited to:

  • Journal or diary entries
  • Creative writing, including poems or short stories
  • Photographs
  • Audio Logs or Video vlogs (a/v diaries)

Maybe you’ve created some of these records already. Are you willing to share them with us?

Use our Call to the Community as motivation and as opportunity to start recording your experience. Perhaps this could be an opportunity for meditative self-reflection, or as part of at-home education for your children.

Storytelling Prompts

While we encourage your storytelling to be as personal and authentic to you as possible, we have crafted prompts to help guide you in documenting your story if you are having trouble getting starting:

  • In a journal or diary, record what your daily life has been like lately. How has the pandemic changed your daily routine, your work, and your relationships? What have your biggest take-aways been so far?
  • As a creative writing activity, write a letter to your past-self from three months ago.
  • As a creative writing activity, write a letter to your future-self one year from now.
  • Begin a photography project, documenting how your daily life has changed or how you are now seeing the world differently.

Teacher Resources

Check out our Tip Sheet for Educators for more information.


For Primary/Junior students, we’ve developed an Activity Booklet to prompt children in reflecting on their experiences during this time. All stories matter, including our youngest generations. We hope this Activity Booklet can encourage children to creatively reflect and share their stories for future generations.

Please see Museum Classroom: Primary/Junior Legacy of a Pandemic Lesson Plan for more details.


Intermediate/Senior students are encouraged to either begin a journal-keeping project or documentary photography project to record their experiences over the duration of their schooling during the pandemic. Students can use the Storytelling Prompts above to guide their projects.

Please see Museum Classroom: Intermediate/Senior Legacy of a Pandemic Lesson Plan for more details.

How to Submit Your Story

If you would like to submit your piece for our Legacy of a Pandemic project, please contact Adrian Petry, Visitor Services Coordinator of the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre. Call us at 905-984-8880 or email at museum@stcatharines.ca

Accepted formats:

  • Hand written: Scan to PDF / Digital photograph
  • Written: PDF
  • Photography: TIFF
  • Audio: MP3
  • Video: MP4

Please fill out the form below and send it along with your submission. Digital signatures are accepted.


  1. This morning, April 1, I sat with a relative in that little garden next to the Old Courthouse. The sun shone from a cloudless sky. Tim Hortons was shuttered, but we were able to get excellent coffee from Helen’s. We were enjoying the silence, when a gentleman walked up and produced from his pack crumbs for the sparrows and nuts for the squirrels. Some extremely fat and well-fed sparrows waddled up for their breakfast, and so did a squirrel. Squirrels are often called tree-rats and vermin, but they are the most enchanting creatures. This one sat down, picked up its nut in his little hands and ate it with all the refinement of a duchess taking tea.

    The gentleman, who obviously does this regularly, wished us a courteous nice day and moved on.

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