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USM digitally archiving "closed" due to coronavirus, COVID-19 signs

Signs of the Times: the coronavirus, COVID-19 inspired project is a crowd-sourced digital archive started in April by a University of Southern Maine professor

MAINE, USA — Most of us are all too familiar with the "closed" sign hanging in windows, but thankfully many of them are being taken down.

But before all of them are gone, the University of Southern Maine has started a crowd-sourced archive, titled “Signs of the Times: Documenting Covid-19 Signs in Southern Maine."

The goal for the archive is to collect a picture of every COVID-19 related closed sign in Southern Maine. As of now, they have collected 200 photos from the public, and most were photographed on smartphones.

Each photo includes the photographer, the municipality where the image was taken, a transcription, the type of sign, and what type of business displayed it. The public is not encouraged to seek out these signs or change their daily routine to photograph them.

Creator, Libby Bischof a history professor with USM, hopes this archive will give us all something to look back on and a reminder to those of us who experienced it.

"The hardest thing for any historian to capture in teaching is lived experience. What life was like for the people living it at any moment in time, and I think these signs help us understand that more than anything else."

If you would like to submit photographs to the archive, that can be done through the University of Southern Maine website or email Libby Bischof at elizabeth.bischof@maine.edu.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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