L&A museum needs help to create an archive of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archive is creating a time capsule to capture the time of COVID-19 in the community — and it needs the community's help. Global News

Museums are places where history is housed and shared to tell a story.

The Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archive is creating a time capsule to capture our time of COVID-19 and the pandemic in the community.

“When we first started going through the lockdown in the spring … a lot of the questions I was asked is … ‘Do we have any artifacts from the Spanish flu pandemic?’ And I don’t,” says Joanne Himmelman, curator of the museum. “So it got me thinking that I’m responsible for making sure there are artifacts (of the current pandemic).”

A painting by Lisa Ray Koenig. Global News

Now, the museum has started a collection and would like area residents to take part.

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“It could be anything from homemade items, to signs, to those ‘happy rocks’ we are seeing all over our community,” says Himmelman, “to those really fun debit machine holders … (drive-thru window employees) reach out with a debit machine on an old hockey stick.

“Those are ingenious and creative and I would love something like that for the collection.”

She says these items interpret the time we lived in, making for a fascinating story in years to come.

Global News. Global News

Read more: Canadian mom creates COVID-19 Time Capsule workbook

Part of the archive is also devoted to collecting people’s thoughts, ideas, letters and even poems about how they felt during the pandemic.

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An example of a digital submission on the museum’s website is from Napanee resident Karen Preston.

Preston wrote a poem, entitled a Message to my Follow Countrymen, that reads, in part, “We stand on guard / Together is best / It is not the time / For ‘forget the rest.’”

“One man has submitted a few stories from the perspective of an elderly man,” says Kim Kerr, the museum’s archivist, “Which is just a wonderful framework to hear from.

“We’ve got stories from children and the art they were doing.

“So it was just a way to make sure we were covering all the communities that we serve.”

Many submissions are photographs that depict a moment in the community’s pandemic journey.

The first outdoor council meeting in Napanee. Global News

One, for example, is “a photograph we received digitally of our very first council meeting outside, where everyone is distanced.”

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If you would like to take part and donate an item to the COVID-19 Time Capsule project, the museum would like to hear from you, so future generations will not forget about 2020, even though many of us would like to.

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