Current Collecting Initiatives

Naperville 2020-2021: Pandemic Collecting Initiative

We are at an uncharted moment in history. The growth of COVID-19 and its far-reaching political, economic, social, and cultural ramifications are quickly overtaking any historical comparisons that we can make.

Naper Settlement has a commitment to preserve the history of Naperville (which we consider to include all of School Districts #203 and #204) from before the founding of the town until right this minute and into the future. We are at a special moment in our collecting history and we need your help.

Our intention is to build a collection of daily life with COVID-19 in Naperville and the surrounding suburban area. Through the submission of your writings, images, and videos, we will have an archive that can be utilized by historians to understand Naperville in 2020 and how the town and its people addressed COVID-19.

Our lives today are drastically different than they were a month ago and will change again a month from now. From reflections on what it means to work or go to school at home, to pictures that represent what social distancing actually feels like, we can contribute to building an understanding of what this pandemic felt like for individuals and what it meant to our city, metropolitan area, nation, and the world.

What we are looking for:

  • Writings
  • Images—photographs and pictures
  •  Short Videos (anything less than 20MB, for files bigger please sent to
  • Objects and artifacts  directly connected to the pandemic (Signs from car parades, teddy bears or decals placed in windows, information from a health care provider, etc.)

How to Help:

 Click below to start your donation. Please fill in all the questions as completely as possible to provide context for your submission. This information will help us and future scholars to understand what is being captured and why.

Donate Button

All other questions about donations for the collection can be directed to

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Donate?

Primary sources are crucial for the work of historians. These sources reveal the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of people attempting to live their lives in extraordinary times. Think of your pictures and writings as the building blocks of history—the story won’t be the same without you.

Not ready to donate?

That’s okay.  Consider holding onto to important pictures, writings, documents, or objects for your personal or family collections. You can donate to Naper Settlement (or another museum) when you feel comfortable.

What are you going to do with my stuff?

Naper Settlement is acquiring sources and artifacts for our permanent and digital collections. With your permission, some submissions might be used on our website or social media.

What if I have a physical object? (Material Culture)

Please submit a photograph  you have taken of the object, along with a description. Please include in the donation form that you are interested in donating the object and someone from collections will get back to you about next steps.