MILTON, Ga. — A push to document the COVID-19 pandemic’s local impact as it occurs has moved to its next stage, and residents are being encouraged to participate.
The Milton Historical Society began its “Milton Memoirs” project last summer to create a historic record of this time in history, told through the lens of those who live in the old Milton County boundaries, including Milton and portions of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Mountain Park, Roswell and Sandy Springs.
“Several members of the Milton Historical Society Board of Directors sensed that the impact of the pandemic on the community would be significant and long lasting,” Milton Historical Society President Jeff Dufresne said. “I felt that we had an obligation as a historical society to document the effect of the pandemic and how our citizens dealt with it.”
Dufresne said “Milton Memoirs” is a film project documenting how a small city responds to a global event. Specifically, it’s about life in Milton during the pandemic.
The Society has already recorded about 50 Zoom interviews with residents, teachers, business leaders, city employees and others on how the pandemic has affected their lives. Historical Society members and other volunteers are compiling and editing the first round of interviews. The group will resume interviews on or after March 14, the 1-year anniversary of Gov. Brian Kemp authorizing an emergency declaration in response to COVID-19.
“We want residents to reflect on their daily lives, their families and occupations,” Dufresne said. “How did this sudden bolt out of the blue change their outlook on life? How did citizens care for one another in the midst of adversity? What lessons have they learned that they want to pass on? We have interviewed people from all walks of life, husbands and wives, students, first responders, businesspeople, government officials, the elderly, all of whom have unique and often powerful stories to tell.”
Before the next round of videos begin, the Society is requesting photos that capture the times, including those of pandemic-related signage, first responders at work, virus vaccinations and more.
Local residents can also submit written accounts of the pandemic’s impacts to their lives.
“The ‘Milton Memoirs’ project has given folks a chance to express themselves on a subject that may touch them deeply,” Dufresne said. “Sometimes it is cathartic to share those feelings.”
Perhaps no other event has impacted every single person in the area, whether it has affected someone’s livelihood, family structure, the loss of loved ones, isolation of quarantining or how young kids learn. That makes the project all that much more important to document today.
“We are living in a historic time and are confident that the film will be as valuable today as well as it will be for future generations,” Dufresne said. “We believe that the documentary will be widely viewed online and will be shown at venues such as schools, libraries, senior living facilities, service clubs such as Rotary, basically any organization interested in seeing it.”
Those who wish to participate must live in the area of the former Milton County. Photos can be submitted to email@example.com. Residents may submit a written piece on how COVID-19 has impacted their lives by contacting miltonhistoricalsociety.com.