County’s COVID-19 archive documents history in real time

Bret Anne Serbin

Missoulians witnessed history as it happened over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they have an opportunity to review the tumultuous events through an archive put together by Missoula County and the University of Montana.

Last week, the county rolled out a searchable database of documents and oral histories from a variety of community members involved in Missoula’s COVID-19 response.

“It’s a very rich and deep archive of what happened in Missoula,” said UM Professor Leif Fredrickson, the project manager for the archive.

The archive brings together government leaders, public health officials, business owners and nonprofit heads to discuss their experiences over the past two years.

Interviews with Incident Commander Cindy Farr, documented news stories, and internal communications from a home care company comprise elements of the archive’s materials. Putting the project together remains an ongoing initiative, and project leaders hope to continue getting input from the community.

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“That’s the cool thing about the archive: you can literally track the pandemic from the beginning through the present day,” said Matt Lautzenheiser with the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. Lautzenheiser played a key role in

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