Living testimony: Museum exhibit commemorating COVID victims to open this month

A living testimony. That’s perhaps the best way to describe a new exhibit at the South Texas History Museum in Edinburgh, an exhibit designed to commemorate some of the Rio Grande Valley victims of COVID-19, as told by their survivors. .

The Bearing Witness exhibit is a collection of stories told by community members about loved ones they lost to the pandemic and wanted to recognize.

The exhibition is scheduled to be open from April 11 to August 1. The last day to see the exhibition will be July 31.

South Texas History Museum worker John Gonzales displays some of the exhibits from the Bear Witnesses exhibit at the museum Friday, April 1, 2022 in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

As of Thursday, there have been a total of 3,885 deaths in Hidalgo County alone since the pandemic began. The volume of deaths coupled with the disruption of lives and society as a result of the pandemic has been unprecedented in the Valley, particularly during the summer of 2020.

Francisco Guajardo, general manager of MOSTHistory, hopes the exhibit will serve as a healing process for the valley community and bring a sense of closure.

He also sees the pandemic as a momentous occasion in history and hopes the exhibit will shed light on the extent of COVID-19 in the Valley.

“We expect people to come to the museum and be able to reflect a bit like a memorial would,” Guajardo said. “Our intention is to provide a way for the community to look at history by showcasing the stories of those we have lost… This is living history.”

Over the course of six months starting in 2020, the museum spoke to families who wanted to share the stories of their loved ones for the Bearing Witness collection. Throughout this period, they have collected various stories which they believe sum up the severity and impact of the pandemic.

“I think people called the museum because they wanted to honor their loved ones in a deep, meaningful, meaningful way,” Guajardo said.

South Texas History Museum worker John Gonzales displays some of the exhibits from the Bear Witnesses exhibit at the museum Friday, April 1, 2022 in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

According to MOSTHistory Exhibitions and Collections Coordinator Melissa Peña, the new exhibit will feature the stories of Bearing Witness along with a photograph of the deceased.

It will consist of 22 fabric panels measuring 2 feet by 6 feet which will be placed on supports designed for the exhibition.

“I wanted it to stand out, I wanted it to be deep without too much distraction.”

Peña said she spoke to a family member of one of the people in the collection who said he was looking forward to seeing the exhibit.

The museum, located at 200 N. Closner Blvd. in Edinburgh, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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