Capturing Victorian experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I’m proud to share this virtual showcase documenting the story of the COVID-19 pandemic as we’re experiencing it in Victoria.
The social and economic disruption caused by the pandemic is almost unimaginable. As Victoria’s state museum, it is critical that we capture this extraordinary moment and its myriad stories—from groundbreaking medical research in the fight to find a vaccine, to the upheaval being felt in almost every part of the economy.
Also included are the more human and intimate stories of communities coming together to support one another, and of people finding new ways to stay connected while maintaining social distancing in lockdown.
As so much of our lives have moved online, it is appropriate that this first phase of Collecting the Curve is virtual. More than just a showcase, Collecting the Curve is a living collecting project, and over the weeks and months ahead we will continue to share stories and items as they are added to the state collection.
Collecting the Curve will also include a series of spirited discussions that will present the virus and its impact from different viewpoints, ranging from prominent scientists and researchers to families experiencing forced quarantine.
Collecting the Curve is a truly extraordinary example of the agility and skill of Museums Victoria’s staff. I extend my sincere thanks to everyone who is working on this project, which tells such an important story for today’s and future generations of Victorians.
Collecting the Curve is an innovative new addition to Museums Victoria’s expansive Museum at Home platform.
—Lynley Crosswell, Chief Executive Officer and Director
Flattening the curve
Medical research and public health approaches
Every Victorian has their part to play in ensuring our COVID-19 curve remains flat. For months our research and health experts have been working tirelessly on the SARS-COV-2 virus, contributing to a greater global understanding of the virus and potential treatments.
Meanwhile, by staying at home and practising social distancing, we reduce the pressure on our health system. These measures also slow community transmission to allow other frontline workers to keep essential services going safely.
The declaration of the State of Emergency, and implementation of the Stay at Home directive, had an almost instantaneous effect on the lives of Victorians. Suddenly many people have found themselves at home, their local area now their world.
People rediscovered their local communities and used the time for new creative pursuits. Notes in letterboxes offer to do shopping and people find ways to celebrate Easter and ANZAC day together but at a distance.
Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown brings widespread social and economic impacts. People across the state have rapidly transitioned to working and learning remotely as restrictions and social distancing jump-start a digital revolution.
For others, those same restrictions have brought forced closures and widespread unemployment. Normally an event city, almost everything in Melbourne has been cancelled or postponed.
Epidemics have been recorded in Victoria since the first years of European settlement. Smallpox, influenza, polio, scarlet fever, diphtheria, measles, tuberculosis, whooping cough, HIV and now COVID-19 have all impacted the health, wellbeing and lives of Victorians.
Our approaches to overcoming previous epidemics and pandemics have paved the way for some of the research work and public health measures being implemented today.
Rapidly documenting the history of a pandemic as it happens requires museum staff to think differently about their work. Our conservators have adapted our biohazard procedures to ensure we stay safe if items we collect have COVID-19 particles on them. Our collection managers are working out how to collect and preserve online interactions in new digital formats.
Together we’re thinking through the ethics of documenting history as it happens in a way that’s sensitive to the strange and often stressful times Victorians are living in.
As we collect and share objects and stories relating to Victorian experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic you can learn more and share your story through these programs and activities:
Museum of Staying at Home
Suitable for Year Levels 3–10 this project invites teachers and students in Victoria to document their staying-at-home experience by creating their own simple ‘exhibits’ at home, with guidance and resources from museum staff.
To keep up to date with the latest additions to Collecting the Curve make sure you follow Museums Victoria on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and we’ll let you know as items are added to the collection.
For other general enquiries and questions go to Ask us.
Museums Victoria has experts who can provide comment on many questions about how we are researching, living with and adapting to life with COVID-19.