While the global coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on museums around the world, some are stepping up to document this unprecedented event.
Museums around the world have now been closed for weeks, as countries introduce social distancing measures in order to curb the spread of the virus. However, museum staff and communities are still hard at work, educating, entertaining and informing audiences online. Now, some are also working to document the pandemic and how it has affected people’s lives.
Pandemic memoirs and memorials
Bompas and Parr recently produced a report looking at behavioural changes in a post-COVID-19 world, called Fluid Landscapes. In this, the pair predict the creation of a Haptics Museum, taking guests on a sensory haptics tour in order to get them used to being allowed to touch things again. The report also foresees memorials and other ways of recording the pandemic.
Museum of London
For example, the Museum of London has asked for submissions of objects and personal stories from life during the pandemic. “Nothing is too humble,” said senior curator Beatrice Behlen, speaking to Newsround. “The object doesn’t have to look great or special, but we are interested in what it means. If you were to tell people, in the future, what this was like, what would you say?”
As COVID-19 affects our lives in unprecedented ways, we want to collect objects and experiences of Londoners.
— Museum for London (@MuseumofLondon) April 23, 2020
Submissions could include artwork, diary entries and videos that have been created during the pandemic, as well as everyday objects that have taken on a new significance.
Other institutions around the world are also building their own collections around the coronavirus outbreak. An exhibition which opened at Shanghai Library today includes letters and messages about the crisis. It also includes objects from those fighting coronavirus on the front line.
Meanwhile, in the US, The New York Historical Society is collecting materials from the city’s residents, which it will add to its History Responds collection.
Speaking to The Guardian, the museum’s director Margi Hofer said: “This is a history that everyone will be looking back on. We hope people will be able to learn from it and be better prepared in an event like this in the future. To be better prepared to cope, as well.”
Image: DIY Covid-19 Fabric Mask (with Filter Pocket) Sewing Tutorial by Maker’s Habitat KL – https://youtu.be/S9RWII2-5_4