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ALPLM program to discuss an oral history of the pandemic

NPR Illinois

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has been capturing memories of the pandemic with a special oral history project.

Now the head of the “Tumultuous 2020” project will share highlights from among dozens of interviews at a special event Wednesday.

Oral historian Amanda Riggenbach will discuss some of the people she met and recount their stories. Some are tragic, inspirational or even funny.

The free presentation takes place at noon, Wednesday, Aug. 10, in the ALPLM’s library building (112 N. Sixth Street, Springfield).

The project collected about 80 oral histories. The people who shared their stories include teachers, college students, business owners, nurses and undertakers. Some led efforts to keep the public safe, others scrambled to save businesses and community groups, and most simply endured.

Riggenbach said she was impressed by the way people dealt with loss – of loved ones, of jobs, of businesses – without giving up.

“People just adapted. They made do with what they had, tried new ideas and found ways to move forward,” Riggenbach said. “That takes courage. That takes strength.”

Many of the Tumultuous 2020 interviews are already available on the ALPLM’s oral history website, www.OralHistory.Illinois.gov.

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