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Why are we #CollectingCOVID?

In April 2020, the museum launched its rapid response collecting programme to document the COVID-19 pandemic in London. Here we tell you more about why we’re doing it.

Beauchamp Place © Damien Hewetson

Beauchamp Place © Damien Hewetson

The Collecting COVID programme has put out a public call for objects and experiences as well as commissioning Londoners to document the pandemic.

To be able to tell future generations what it was like to live in London during the pandemic, we have been collecting objects since April this year. Our aim is to reflect the voices and experiences – good and bad – of a broad range of Londoners, as well as changes to the urban environment caused by the capital going into, and emerging from lockdown. We are interested in the tangible and intangible, the extraordinary as well as the everyday.

We have used different ways of collecting both physical and digital objects, such as commissioning or recording ourselves the (non)sounds and sights of the empty city. We have worked with individuals and communities to help us find objects and to tell their stories. We have also asked for suggestions and so far have received more than 500, including signs to support keyworkers, diaries, masks and photographs.

We will keep updating these pages as we accession more objects to our permanent collection, highlighting our work to represent the diverse experiences of London in lockdown.