We are living through an unprecedented, transformative moment in our lifetimes.   In an attempt to document COViD-19 in Sparta for ourselves and future generations, Sparta Historical Society, following the NJ Historical Commission’s webinar and Newark Library’s and Monmouth County Historical Association’s model, previously asked you to contribute reminiscences - written and visual - to our COVID-19 Archive. 

This collection will be made available to the public in the future and will be preserved as authentic historic records.   We are thrilled that Sparta students from Grade 3 to Grade 12 contributed to these efforts through the assistance of Scott Kercher, Sparta Supervisor of Social Studies and 5th – 6th Grade teachers, Jennifer Sawicki and Laura Meade with and other teachers.   Parents – we are aware that many school homework assignments were related to the virus and it is not too late to forward your child’s pertinent schoolwork to our archives collection.

If you are not aware of this project, we are collecting the thoughts and feelings of Spartans as they self-isolated including up to our recent minor reopening.  We ask that those who live, work, or go to school in Sparta share a written memory of no more than 1200 words and/or a captioned photo and/or a short video (no more than five minutes) describing their personal experiences in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.   Small businesses, feel free to send images you would like of the current state of your business (day-to-day, temporarily closed, etc)

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Please keep the following questions in mind as you record your thoughts:

  • What has surprised you most as this quarantine has unfolded?
  • What is your biggest fear?
  • What is an unexpected, positive impact of the quarantine?
  • What is the most difficult part of the quarantine?
  • What are your hopes for the future when this is all over?

Questions specifically for grades K-12 and below:

  • If you discovered the cure for COViD-19, what would you call it and why?
  • How do you feel about school being closed?
  • What advice do you have for people?

Questions specifically for Sparta small business owners.

  • Was your business classified as “essential business”?  If so, how has this affected any your business and/or life?
  • Describe any challenges or difficult choices you have faced during the transition in operations.
  • Describe any adjustments you have had to make to accommodate for the social distancing guidelines and how this has impacted your business.
  • How has your income been affected? Estimate the percentage, not dollar amounts.
  • Does your business qualify for relief from economic stimulus legislation passed at the state or federal level?  Why or why not?
  • Have you been able to offer assistance to the community in any way?  If so, how?
  • What are your predictions for its recovery, or your plan for moving forward?
  • What are you overall reflections regarding this event and the impact it has had on your life?

All submissions must be accompanied by your first and last name, business name (if applicable), age, and any other information about yourself that you would like to include.  Children under 18 must have signed parental consent.    So far, the submissions are wonderfully varied – photographs, stories, artwork, poetry, etc.- and for this we are most grateful!.   We look forward to more personal contributions arriving!

Please send either as email to info@vankirkmuseum.org or via postal mail to Sparta Historical Society, P.O. Box 312, Sparta, NJ 07871.   Remember, you are all makers of our Sparta history!  We thank you for your support and continue to be safe!