Neighbors: Stories from Anchorage’s
Pandemic Years


Neighbors: Stories from Anchorage’s Pandemic Years
is a collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and the Anchorage Daily News to collect and reflect the experiences of Anchorage residents during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, telling the human story of what we’ve been through and envisioning together what the future might look like.

Together with our community, we’ll examine the ways the pandemic has changed us -- what we’ve lost, how we’ve struggled, what we’ve learned, and how we’ve adapted. We’ll find shared experiences, spotlight innovation and open pathways for empathy, connection, and healing.

We’ll do this through listening, writing, and inviting the community to share.

This project is facilitated by Anchorage Museum Writer-in-Residence Julia O’Malley, who will conduct interviews with individuals, gather feedback through surveys, and lead community journaling and writing workshops. O’Malley will use these opportunities of community sharing to tell our city’s collective pandemic story, which she’ll write in a series of articles published by Anchorage Daily News. Funding for this project was provided in part by the Alaska Center for Excellence in Journalism.

Through sharing our stories, we can find each other.

ABOUT JULIA O'MALLEY

Julia O’Malley, a third-generation Alaskan, is a journalist, teacher, and editor who lives in Anchorage. Her work over the last two decades has explored Alaska’s politics, culture, climate, and food. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation and The Washington Post, among other publications. She has served as the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She got her start as a reporter and columnist at the Anchorage Daily News.

Her book about Alaska’s food culture, The Whale and The Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska, co-published by the Anchorage Museum and University of Washington Press, came out in December 2019.

Photo by Nathaniel Wilder

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CONNECT

After years of isolation in Anchorage, can we reconnect with each other through stories?

In an effort to better understand how the last two years have changed the community, we interviewed dozens of Anchorage residents about their experiences. What we discovered is that people across the political spectrum struggled with the similar problems and had a shared desire to reconnect.

This survey asks about many of the common experiences that came up in the initial interviewing process. It will ask for you to briefly describe your own experiences. If a question doesn't apply to you or you'd rather not share, skip to the next. If you choose to share you thoughts, your contributions will not be shared publicly without permission, but a reporter may contact you via email you provide to learn more.

Share with us. Take our survey.

Stories

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A blessing for mothers in pandemic times

This piece came out of a recent class, where writers explored the form of a blessing with Anchorage Museum writer-in-residence Julia O'Malley.

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The pandemic years changed shopping in Anchorage. Maybe forever.

The retail sector shrunk, customers turned away from high-end brands and the future of the mall as most people know it isn’t clear.

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Where are workers to fill all the empty jobs in Anchorage? It’s complicated.

Retirements, demographic trends and fewer foreign workers are among the factors limiting the labor force, economists say. There’s also never been a better time to look for a better job.

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