Tell Your Story FAQs

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What is the Tell Your Story project?

Tell Your Story is a digital engagement project to collect and share personal stories of how Californians are experiencing and coping with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why is this important?

As the State’s official historical society, documenting history is part of our mission. History is happening now. We are living through a global pandemic and it is important to record the impact it is having on individuals throughout the State.

What kinds of stories are you looking for?

With a population of over 40 million residents, and with a geographically, ethnically, and culturally diverse peoples, we want the project to capture the voices of all Californians.

You are free to write about anything. We have listed three focused questions to help you along but you may also just write about how you are feeling during this time in the fourth question where we ask “Is there anything you’d like to add about your experience with the COVID-19 pandemic?”

Can I submit if I am under 18 years old?

If you are between the ages of 13 and 17 years old, please ask your parent or legal guardian to submit your story on your behalf.

Regrettably, we are not able at this time to accept submissions from individuals under 13 years old.

Will my story and image be shared with the public?

Possibly. While everyone’s story may be unique, there are commonalities as well. We feel it is important to share these stories to increase our understanding of our neighbors, friends, communities, and all Californians.

  • If you check the box “I agree that my submission may be shared in whole or in part on Facebook and Instagram and online on the CHS website” you are agreeing that CHS may use your story on the CHS website, or on social media platforms produced and maintained by CHS.
  • When publishing selected stories online CHS will only use the submitter’s first name and name of city or town.
What about privacy?
  • Note that this site collects email addresses in order to validate submissions. Email addresses will not be published online.
  • All stories may be made available to researchers in the future.
Can I submit a story if I am under 18?

Submissions can only be accepted by adults aged 18 years or older.  Stories by minors under the age of 13 may not be submitted due to privacy laws.  Stories by minors between the ages of 13 and 17 years old may be submitted by a parent or legal guardian.  Please also use a parent or legal guardian’s email address when submitting the form.

I am a teacher, can I ask my students to submit their stories?

Yes, if students are over 13 and a parent or legal guardian submits the story on their behalf.

Do I have to answer all the questions?

No, however, your name, location, and email address are required to submit this form.

The other questions are general and are intended to serve as a jumping off point for your voice, but it is our hope that the similarities and differences in responses will give future generations a better understanding of the time through which we are currently living.

We understand that COVID-19 has affected us all differently and that no two stories will be exactly the same, which is why we’ve also included an open space for you to share anything you’d like.

Can I submit more than once at different times?

Yes. You may want to write about your life right now, and then in a month, you may have more or different experiences to share. We welcome additional submissions.

Can I attach my image in any format?

We are currently accepting ‘jpeg’ and ‘png’ images. A 300 dpi jpeg is the most ideal, but we do not want this step to be difficult for anyone.  A phone snapshot is fine.  Please feel free to send us any of the above image types.

Can I submit video or audio?

No. Unfortunately, we are only accepting image files at this time. Please consider submitting a ‘jpeg’ or ‘png’ image to add to your story.

If submitting an image of people, you must have permission from the subjects in the photograph, or, if they are children, from their parent/guardian.

How long will this project continue?

Indefinitely. We want to collect the arc of people’s experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. From the very beginning until the end (and we do not know the endpoint at this time). It is important to gather reactions as the State moves through different stages of this pandemic.

What will be the importance of this time in the future?

Every week, people research CHS’s collection of manuscripts, photographs, maps, and ephemera to examine the past and understand how it has shaped our present lives and our world. Personal histories of the Covid-19 pandemic will provide primary source material for future researchers so that they can understand and learn from our current lived experience.

California Historical Society reopens on April 15th! Learn more about how we are preparing for your safe return.