Museums play an important part in preserving our history. In the spirit of documenting this moment in time, the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre (BCM&CC) is offering communities an opportunity to help capture the experiences of individuals, families, businesses and organizations as we all respond to this evolving situation and cope with the pandemic’s impact in Bruce County.
“We have been busy chronicling the government announcements and health unit news releases, as well as our own experiences as Museum staff. Now, we are reaching out to the community to share with us their own experiences living during this time, including what they are doing, how they’re feeling, what they’re seeing; and to write their stories, keep journals or send us pictures. In general, we want to document how individuals, families, businesses, and organizations are coping with the pandemic’s unprecedented impact.” said Deb Sturdevant, Archivist at the BCM&CC.
Those with Bruce County connections are asked to think about how their lives have changed, how they are dealing with disruptions in their daily routines, changes to their sources of income, and how the closure of businesses, schools, churches, and other institutions have affected what used to be their normal lives.
Photos of the visual impacts of the COVID epidemic are also being sought, including depictions of the ways community spaces have changed, such as closed parks, unusual line-ups or empty streets, and service signs at take-out restaurants, as well as the depictions of changes to individual experiences, such as social distancing by working from home, walking 2 m apart during leisure walks, or “gathering” via electronic means such as Zoom or Skype.
The public is encouraged to consider collecting and recording their experiences and observations and, when ready, donate them to the Museum, in whatever form is comfortable for them, including written stories, memories, journals or thoughts; photographs; or video and audio recordings.
The “Chronicling Community Experiences: COVID-19” web page brucemuseum.ca/shareyourstory provides more information about the project, suggestions for submissions, and an opportunity to submit materials online or, when the Museum re-opens, by mail or in person.
“Everyone’s experiences are an important part of our shared history. The Museum is collecting this material as a record of the pandemic in our communities and as a resource for future exhibition or display and use by researchers for many years to come.” says Cathy McGirr, Director, Museum & Cultural Services.
As the situation evolves, the BCM&CC will be exploring other ways in which to document and collect information about our experiences living through the pandemic.
The BCM&CC depends on community contributions to build their collection and preserve Bruce County history. When circumstances allow the re-opening of County buildings, the Archives at the BCM&CC will be open to anyone wishing to explore their wealth of historic paper, photograph and video resources.