Tri-City museums collecting COVID-19 stories to document community impact

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Two Tri-City museums want to hear your coronavirus stories to document how the pandemic is impacting our communities.

Two Tri-City museums want to hear your coronavirus stories so they can document how the pandemic is impacting our communities. (Source: KSNB)

The Trails & Rails Museum in Kearney is looking for written stories from essential workers in Buffalo County, all the way from first responders and healthcare workers to truck drivers and grocery store employees.

"They're on the front lines, and they deserve to be recognized," said Broc Anderson, community engagement director for the Trails & Rails Museum.

Interested parties should submit their name, occupation and a brief paragraph to detailing how the coronavirus has impacted their lives, their family or workplace.

Those stories will be published in the May/June edition of the museum's bi-weekly newsletter, Buffalo Tales, and archived in their Family History files.

"When we look back on it in 20, 30 years we are getting the current feelings and current attitudes of what people are feeling at this time," Anderson said.

The Hastings Museum is calling for any COVID-19 related stories from anyone with ties to the Hastings area.

Stories can range from experiences with social distancing birthday parties, virtual graduations, working or doing school from home and even your Zoom chats.

Becky Tideman, marketing director for the Hastings Museum, said she's thinking of submitting a letter her son received from the American Legion about two weeks ago.

It said he was selected as the American Legion Boys State candidate from his high school this year, but the event was cancelled.

"There's a lot of different types of communication that can help us understand this story down the road for folks who didn't live through it or lived through it very differently than we did," Tideman said.

You can journal about your feelings or observations of these events, send in photos, audio recordings, or even business communications that speak to the times.

Submissions can be emailed to or submitted on the Hastings Museum's website.

"This teaches us a lot about what those moments really do mean to people, and connection among people," Tideman said.

The museum would also like to collect people's masks and PPE, but Tideman said they'll wait on that for now until DHM restrictions are lifted.

She said they don't know exactly how they'll put all the information together for a future exhibit just yet. The museum wants to collect as many stories as they can before that's decided.

For now, both museums would like you to tell your own story in your own words. They can then act as the facilitators to how it's presented in the future.