We are over two months into our physical distancing – what a strange time this has been. In January, we read about the virus, we heard about the impact, but perhaps it didn’t really register within you. The virus was so far away, how could it possibly strike me? How could it possibly hurt me or those around me, it is so far away?
Then the virus migrates from Asia to Europe….it is still far away... surely this is not going to touch upon my life. In February and March we saw our friends and family take flight to those warm Caribbean vacations and you may have even been counting the days to your own (I know I was)… then the call went out from our Prime Minister “Get Home, we are telling all Canadians to get home”. With that announcement, the world stopped working as we knew it. Flights were grounded - borders, schools, workplaces, retail, and parks closed. We scrambled for hand sanitizer, medical supplies, and household goods. We prepared for the long haul…..and then there was silence.
The Sounds of Silence
The first weekend of silence was surreal…looking into the most vivid blue sky with zero airplanes, the stars were brighter from less light pollution, the roads empty, the birds calmer, the world was somehow just softer.
Our lives have changed, we have rethought what our priorities look like. What have we learned? The world continued to turn even though we weren’t doing all the things we were so used to doing… Mother Nature was sending us a message - our earth needed to catch her breath! You know what ? I am listening.
During the day, I am a museum curator, working remotely from my home during this time, I continue to research the collection, work with our contractors for upcoming exhibit installs, examine new ideas of what the museum will look like after COVID, produce content for our social media platforms, and submit project proposals for grant funding. It is who I am, I can’t help it… my brain hasn’t stopped worrying about our cultural legacy. I look after the material culture that is left behind so that our future generations can understand their past – yes that means remembering COVID-19 too!
For the most part, I love my job, it has challenges, it has beauty, it has depth, it has value….but in the end it’s only part of who I am.
At home, I am a mom, a wife, and friend. In my new quieter world without evening and weekend commitments, I started to cook again, finished house projects, organized kitchen cupboards, went for miles and miles of walks, watched the birds, made and delivered cards to friends and family, delivered meals for the needy, and played basketball and driveway hockey with my kids.
My son celebrated his 12th birthday in April, with a bit of sadness, he knew it wasn’t going to be the same. Our birthday boy received a birthday parade from friends holding the biggest birthday cards ever, he enjoyed a driveway “Happy Birthday” sing along, and so many mailbox gifts… he felt more love this year than any other of his birthdays. His isolation birthday actually made him feel closer to his friends, who would have thought?
The memories made whether happy, fearful, worrisome, angry, sad are part of this time in our lives. History doesn’t always have to be seen through a rose coloured lens. So my museum thinking was put to work - I wanted to collect memories from our communities so that we can retain these in our museum and archive collections.
In April, the Lennox and Addington Museum & Archives launched a digital COVID-19 Time Capsule on our website – this digital capsule has several themes you can upload to, including Written Word, Random Acts of Kindness, Students At Work, Work Life, Art, and Videos. So far all categories have received submissions, but in my museum world, more is more!! I know we all have thoughts and experiences.
Please check out the site and consider submitting something. The future museum curator will be so grateful for all the wonderful material that can be sourced for the COVID-19 exhibit. Believe me, this will someday be in our past and our grandchildren will want to hear about the time the world went quiet.
What About The Physical Covid Collection?
When the museum reopens for public visits, we will be arranging opportunities for people to make physical donations to the collection, so please keep a few things from this time for inclusion to the museum and archive collections. Think about items that might make a cool story to tell in an exhibit – signs, creative distance measuring gadgets, masks, happiness rocks, etc….. stay tuned for more on this.
Check out our capsule here. Please enjoy some of the submissions that have come in so far and keep them coming and share and share our page. We have been your museum while at home and it has been a pleasure to watch all the love and heart this County has put out there for each other. I look forward to seeing you very soon back at the museum! Stay safe.