New History; Pandemic items collected by La Crosse County Historical Society for future exhibit

Take a walk through La Crosse's Heritage Center, and you'll see a lot of old, historic items. But, history doesn't have to be old.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The pandemic has changed almost every thing we do. From how we work and learn.. to how we keep in touch with loved one. Its been a challenge but one that we should never forget.

Take a walk through La Crosse’s Heritage Center, and you’ll see a lot of old, historic items.

But, history doesn’t have to be old.

“Right now we are living in a historical time, we’re living in a pandemic,” said Amy Vach, curator for the La Crosse County Historical Society.

Recently, the La Crosse County Historical Society has been saving some newer things.

“We are saving these items that would normally be thrown away. Because we want to save them for future generations and add them to our historical record,” said Vach. “One of the first items that we added to our collection was one of the plastic hand sanitizer bottles from La Crosse Distilling Company and some of the labels.”

The society thought it was important to showcase how local businesses really stepped up to make a difference in the community.

“We also added a beer can from 608 brewery that had Social Distancing artwork on it, we thought that was a little humorous,” said Vach.

In recent days, a very vital artifact was added to the collection.

“We added the two first vaccine vials that were used at Gundersen Health System,” said Vach.

Vach says saving these items could make a difference for the future.

“I start thinking back to the 1918 pandemic, and I wish that we had some of these items. The masks, and things that they were using,” said Vach.

She says that they could be a learning tool.

“So maybe in the future, 100 years from now people would love to look back and see what we were doing now in this moment,” said Vach. “It affects who we are. all of these things affect our daily lives, no matter how much we want to think about it right now or in the future.”

Vach wants her collections to grow, adding more items to COVID-19 Pandemic collection.

“Masks, and PPE and test kits are a vital part of our lives, so we don’t want to collect those things right now, we’re holding off,” said Vach.

She’s holding off until the pandemic is history.

“But after this pandemic we’re going to want to save those items too,” said Vach.

For a complete picture, of the hardship and humor, and the people who lived through a modern pandemic.

Vach says the pandemic artifacts won’t be on display in the Heritage Center just quite yet, but it will be available for viewing online.