Experiencing History

POSTED ON: May 4, 2020


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world, history is happening each day. The Cooper Union Archives and Special Collections hopes to capture and preserve the day-to-day experiences of our community with your help. Like all schools, The Cooper Union is experiencing a semester unlike any other as the virus has caused the temporary closure of campus buildings and the remainder of the 2020 spring semester is being conducted online. Traditional campus events, such as commencement and the End of Year Show, will not be held during their normally scheduled times. That’s why the Archives and Special Collections staff are asking all members of the community to contribute their observations about life during COVID-19. By gathering the stories, perspectives, creativity, ingenuity, generosity, and resilience that characterizes the Cooper Union community, they hope these moments can provide insight into how students, faculty, staff, and administration are processing the tragedy and changes to daily life.  

“My hope is to gather everything from stories, photographs, social media postings, videos, artwork – complete with the stories about how someone’s work and practice might have changed,” says assistant librarian Katie Blumenkrantz, who works as both an archivist as well as a reference librarian in the Cooper Union library. “I am looking to gather anything that students, staff, faculty, and administration may want to submit that they feel documents their experience, both related to the Cooper community as well as their everyday life.”     

Learn how to submit ephemera to the Archives and Special Collections project. 

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.