NEPA Scene Staff

Lackawanna Historical Society engages public with COVID-19 Archive, photography workshop, and video lectures

Lackawanna Historical Society engages public with COVID-19 Archive, photography workshop, and video lectures
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

From a press release:

The past few months have proved to be a historic time that will undoubtedly be studied by scholars in the future. To make their jobs easier, the Lackawanna Historical Society has started the LHS COVID-19 Archive project, a virtual “instant archive” for members of the community to record their thoughts and reactions to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an effort to document this historic moment, the society has prepared two online surveys, one for students and one for adults, and created an upload link where individuals can share their personal experiences and reflections of how the pandemic is affecting them. The LHS is dedicated to documenting, preserving, and interpreting Lackawanna County history, and what’s happening right now is a significant part of that history.

The public can participate by visiting to complete the survey or upload a story. The society will continue to not only document and collect data, but it is also working to provide interesting and educational local history programs remotely, including an online local history curriculum with discussion questions and an ongoing Zoom video meeting series called “Lackawanna Past Times” that is also available on YouTube. Subjects so far have included “Italian Festivals in Lackawanna County,” “Scranton’s Downtown Architectural Treasures,” and “From Suffragists to Senators: Women’s Suffrage in Scranton.”

In response to schools closing for the year due to COVID-19, the Lackawanna Historical Society is also hosting “Every Picture Tells a Story,” a photography workshop for students.

Supported by funding from the Margaretta Briggs Foundation, the program will create a visual archive of how Lackawanna County looks under quarantine. The workshop, which will begin in May and run through the end of summer, will give aspiring photographers a chance to document their hometown neighborhoods during this historic period. Students will follow social distancing guidelines but will be encouraged to share their perception of how the quarantine can best be expressed through photographic images.

Photojournalist Jake Danna Stevens, a staff photographer at the Scranton Times-Tribune, will instruct the students via Zoom lectures in a three-part course to teach light, composition, moments, archaical photography, archiving, and caption writing. The program is open to high school students from across Lackawanna County, including Scranton, Clarks Summit, Dalton, Old Forge, and Dickson City.

By taking documentary/photojournalistic-style photos, students will present scenic, pictorial, and detail photos of how things look during the coronavirus quarantine. At the end of the program, students’ photos will be displayed as part of an online gallery and promoted through local media outlets; it will then become part of the society’s permanent collection.

For more information on these programs, contact the society at

Founded in 1886 as the Lackawanna Institute of History and Science, the Lackawanna Historical Society provides the community with a record of local history through its museum and library collections, exhibits, and programs. In 1942, from the bequest of George H. Catlin, the society established its permanent home at Catlin’s 1912 residence at 232 Monroe Avenue in Scranton.

In 1965, Lackawanna County designated the Lackawanna Historical Society as the official county historical society, and the society continues to serve the county as a center for local history resources. It receives funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Catlin Memorial Trust, Lackawanna County, and memberships.