Why are you collecting ideas and perspectives now, while we are in the middle of the pandemic?
The team at the museum knows and feels how sensitive this project is. This is an unprecedented moment for everyone. Our teams are part of the community and share the community’s worries and fears, so this project includes time for reflection and self-care. This is an unprecedented moment in time. None of us have experienced anything like this before. We recognize this is a historic period, so we’d like your input on how we capture the feeling of the times, through photos, objects and other forms of expression.
Will the museum offer any learning programs about the COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time project?
Yes, we will. After we pore over your feedback, we plan to develop new programs, open to everyone across BC, to explore how people are capturing their personal experiences and how the museum and archives can support this documentation. We plan to provide tips and examples from other RBCM@Home gathering projects.
Can I submit objects (e.g. hard copies of signs, recipes, home-school schedules, etc.) now?
Not quite yet. Once we are back in the museum buildings we’ll be better positioned to accept objects. We’ll be providing more information on that process in the future.
In the future, will you accept personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves and face shields?
Probably—but only from health authorities, so we can be sure they are sterile. Please don’t send us your own homemade PPE. However, if you have made your own masks, feel free to send us photos of sewing patterns and photos of the final products.
What do you hope to tell future generations with this COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time project?
We don’t yet know. That’s part of what makes this exercise so important. We’ll be taking many of our cues from what people like you will be sharing with us.
Have you done this kind of collecting before?
While we have undertaken rapid response collecting like this in response to other significant events, we have not undertaken a project dedicated to an event as widely impactful as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are other museums around the world collecting materials about the pandemic?
We know of several others that are, but our project is important to you and to us because it’s about British Columbia: through the COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time project, we hope to capture BC stories and perspectives that are reflective of our citizens.
What are your ethical guidelines around this kind of collecting, especially as the pandemic is still occurring?
The Royal BC Museum will do nothing that exacerbates the crisis, detracts from the emergency response or distracts those who are involved in it. We will respect that working on this project may affect staff and collaborators directly and could cause harm, and we will ensure that we provide support to those from whom we collect, when appropriate.
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