’burg and Beyond

In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknell’s students and staff make a positive and palpable difference.
Milton resident Kathi Venios during her COVID-19 Living History project
Photo: Brooke Thames
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For Milton resident Kathi Venios, the COVID-19 Living History project was “a chance to be part of the narrative that gets passed on from generation to generation, while highlighting the importance of public libraries and community archives.”
" "Milton, Pa.
Kathi Venios never pondered her place in history before the COVID-19 pandemic transformed life as she knew it — from prioritizing safety while grocery shopping to doing her administrative assistant work for the Bucknell Humanities Center (BHC) from home. “Suddenly, it struck me that we’re living out history as it’s happening, and 200 years from now, people are going to wonder how we got through,” she says.

To provide future generations with an answer, Venios and her Bucknell colleagues partnered with the Milton Public Library on a summerlong project to capture local residents’ pandemic stories.

What They Did
The COVID-19 Living History project invited children, teens and families to reflect on their pandemic experiences creatively by completing take-home kits that included a journal, crayons, colored pens and pencils, and a postcard with questions to guide family conversations as they illustrated their memories.

Each contribution will be scanned and printed to create a community-authored archival book for the library.

Why It Matters
As the BHC’s first public humanities initiative, the partnership also serves as a building block for future successful collaborations between Bucknell and its neighbors.

“Universities have a large role to play in supporting the communities they’re part of,” says BHC Director Maria Antonaccio, religious studies, who worked closely on the project along with Professor Claire Campbell, history. “We’re eager to expand our mission to better serve our region.”
— Brooke Thames