The impact of COVID-19 on Hoboken will be significant. In addition to the beloved residents who have been lost to the pandemic, the social fabric of our community is being altered in ways we’re only beginning to understand.
The Hoboken Historical Museum, which has been closed to the public throughout, has launched a new, real-time collecting project to document the experience of local residents during the public health crisis caused by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Museum Director Bob Foster has been busy archiving the event through photos and stories he’s been collecting since March. Meanwhile, the Museum is appealing to the public for their input—setting up a dedicated website for sharing oral histories, photos, videos and other artifacts of this trying time in not only our lives but the evolution of the town we call home.
“While we can’t possibly preserve everything, we are interested in collecting as many different stories, interviews, images, audio files, and videos as we can, as quickly as possible,” Foster said. “Over time, our goal is to collect objects, oral histories, artistic responses and more that we can display in a retrospective exhibit at a future date, much like our Superstorm Sandy exhibit in 2013.”
As Hobokenites have been adjusting to restrictions and recommendations from authorities, the museum has been busy doing the same—developing online versions of their cherished events.
Via their website and social media channels, the Hoboken Historical Museum has broadcast videotaped Storytime with volunteer Jack Silbert at the Fire Department Museum; painting lessons from Museum Associate Bill Curran; an interactive version of the Black Maria Film Festival; and a live-streamed Hoboken Trivia Night with Collections Manager Rand Hoppe and co-host Lois Dilivio.
The museum’s membership database is under construction by Development Associate Eileen Lynch, as entertaining “Then & Now” vignettes are posted weekly to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by volunteer digital marketer, Lisa Marakova.
As a part of their COVID-19 project, the Hoboken Museum is inviting all Hudson County artists to transform disposable face masks into one-of-a-kind artworks and submit them for an upcoming exhibition: “Every Mask a Blank Canvas.” According to the Museum:
Artists should use the standard disposable face masks found at most drug stores, and may submit more than one entry. One work of face mask art will be selected to win a $250 prize.
Submissions should be signed by the artist, accompanied by contact information and an optional artist’s statement about the work, and mailed to the Hoboken Historical Museum, P.O. Box 3296, Hoboken, NJ 07030. All masks must be postmarked by June 15, 2020. There is no cost to enter the contest. The masks will become part of the Museum’s collections and may be included in the upcoming exhibition. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We look forward to seeing how local artists transform disposable face masks into future icons of this time,” said Foster. “Every object tells a story and I’m hoping these masks tell a story of what’s happening in world right now.”
To learn more, visit hobokenmuseum.org.