The Museum of London is seeking to collect both objects and first-hand experiences to reflect Londoners’ lives during these dark days, in order to keep a record and to ensure future generations of Londoners will be able to learn about and understand this extraordinary period.

As the lockdown caused by theCOVID-19 virus will hopefully be a fairly short-lived event that if anything makes the collecting of ephemera even more important.

When things are created quickly and for short term existence, they tend to be thrown away more often and rarely retained. Those paper NHS rainbows put in windows may be a child’s drawing, but in a century, it could be an important record of a life-defining moment in time.

The museum said that it is keen to focus on three strands of collecting:

  • How the physical spaces in the city have been transformed – from a bustling metropolis to hushed streets – while the social and working lives of many have moved digital;
  • The effects on key and home workers;
  • How children and young people are reacting to and coping with the changes now that many schools are closed.

The Museum of London is hoping to collect both physical and digital objects, reflecting the voices and experiences of a broad range of Londoners. From those working on the front line to those quietly working in the background, from parents turned home-school support to young people online gaming, the museum wants to collect objects from those that can tell the story of London in lockdown.

Individuals and organisations who would like to donate objects should get in touch via social media @MuseumofLondon or email [email protected].

Beatrice Behlen, Senior Curator at the Museum of London, said: “Londoners, like millions of people around the world, have to find ways of coping with the new life the epidemic has imposed. This is a major moment in the capital’s history and we want to collect a range of objects, from clothing to hairclippers, from diaries to memes that reflect the physical and emotional response of Londoners to COVID-19. The Museum of London always strives to tell the story of London and its people. We feel it is imperative to capture this time for future generations, to help us understand how this city dealt with an extraordinary situation.”

Just don’t send them anything inspired by a US President.

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