Help museums to tell the borough's lockdown story

Hertsmere museums are collecting people's memories and items from lockdown

Hertsmere museums are collecting people's pictures, experiences, memories and items from lockdown - Credit: Hertsmere Borough Council

Museums across Hertsmere are launching #CollectingCOVID to tell the borough's lockdown story. 

COVID-19 has brought many changes to Hertsmere residents' lives since the first lockdown almost a year ago.


The 'new normal' swiftly followed, creating a huge shift in our social and working lives. 

Organisations began to close and restrictions were made on people's movements across the country.

The borough's museums, including the one in Wyllyotts Centre, Potters Bar, are seeking to collect objects and first-hand experiences to reflect local people’s lives during the pandemic, to keep a record and ensure future generations will be able to learn about and understand this extraordinary period.

#CollectingCOVID poster from Hertsmere Borough Council

Hertsmere museums are launching #CollectingCOVID - Credit: Hertsmere Borough Council

Councillor Caroline Clapper, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: "During the first lockdown we created things quickly and for short-term use, which tend to be thrown away and rarely retained.

"The paper NHS rainbows put in windows may be a child’s drawing, but in a century, it could be an important record of a life-defining moment in time.

Most Read

"This time we may have been more prepared with small office areas at home, online learning or new ways of keeping in touch with loved ones, but there is still a story to tell.

"We want to hear about how you are coping, what tools and techniques you are using to work and stay connected, how your home has adapted, as well as the ways you are protecting you and your family's mental health."

The museums are keen for photographs, journals, letters and items to show life during the pandemic, tiers and lockdown.

Items could include:

  • How the physical spaces in Hertsmere have been transformed – from bustling town centres to deserted streets, socially distanced gatherings, queues, and empty shelves.
  • The effects on key and home workers – clothing, stories and experiences, homemade face masks, letters, cards, and journals.
  • How children and young people are reacting to and coping with the changes now that many schools are closed – examples of home learning, games played, posters and pictures, diaries, coloured pebbles, and chalk drawings on pavements.

Curators for Hertsmere's four museums are hoping to collect both physical and digital objects, reflecting the voices and experiences of residents from across the borough.

From those working on the front line to those quietly working in the background, from parents turned home-school support to young people online gaming, the museums want to collect objects from those that can tell the story of Hertsmere in lockdown.

Cllr Clapper added: "This is a major moment in our social history and our museums want to collect a range of objects, from clothing to hair clippers, from diaries to memes that reflect the physical and emotional response of the borough’s residents to COVID-19.

"Our museums strive to tell the story of their towns and its people. It is imperative to capture this time for future generations, to help us understand how this city dealt with an extraordinary situation.

“Remember, it’s not just old things the museums collect. As the situation with coronavirus continues to unfold, if you have any items you think might be of interest to reflect this time in our history, please keep them aside for our museums to consider.”

Pictures, posters, stories and information on items you would be willing to donate can be emailed to:

Journals recording life as it has been through the pandemic can be anonymous and there will be an embargo period.

Contact the heritage and museums officer for more information, ruth.stratton@hertsmere.gov.uk or visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/collectingcovid


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter