About The Newtown Documentation Project
The Newtown Documentation Project began as a response to the hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail, cards, banners, art and gifts sent to Newtown, Connecticut after the December 14, 2012 tragedy.
This unprecedented outpouring overwhelmed our small town and quickly became difficult to manage. The initial decision was to gather all items in the memorials on the streets along with the mass amount of mail and create a “sacred soil” by incinerating it all. This soil would then be used in a special concrete to make bricks for a future memorial — simply because there was so much and no place to put it.
When I heard of this decision, I felt compelled to try and digitally document whatever I could so that these messages could be saved and shared. Also, I felt a responsibility to let all those people know we received their messages — that we held them sacred and worthy of documenting.
On January 26, 2013, we began photographing and scanning in earnest. In a short time, we were able to organize and manage the letters in a way that pushed off the incineration date indefinitely.
The process of sorting, reading, photographing and moving these letters became therapeutic and healing for all of us. Each letter, card, banner or piece of artwork is considered simply this: a message of love.
It is millions of people from all over the world reaching out to say: “I care. I love you. How can I help?”
This website is a testament to the true nature of human beings: love and caring. It is a place to read, share, grieve and ultimately heal.
What you will see is a representation of the entire collection because there is simply no way to capture it all. We have worked all year to read and document as much as we could. Our intention was not to archive, but to bear witness.
It is our thank you to the world for embracing Newtown.