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Museum seeks to collect items reflecting first-hand experience of pandemic

Curators want objects, together with first-person testimony, for future generations to document this ‘extraordinary time’.

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Hair clippers and hair dye, rainbow drawings and popular items such as toilet paper could go on display (Aaron Chown/PA)

Hair clippers and hair dye, rainbow drawings and popular items such as toilet paper could go on display (Aaron Chown/PA)

Hair clippers and hair dye, rainbow drawings and popular items such as toilet paper could go on display (Aaron Chown/PA)

A clip of Joe Wicks in action and hair clippers could go on show at the Museum Of London – as it seeks to collect first-hand experiences of how coronavirus is changing society.

Curators want objects, together with first-person testimony, for future generations to be able to look back and understand this “extraordinary time”.

The museum is collecting the items now, but stressed that any display would be far in the future.

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Fitness coach Joe Wicks’s online exercise classes have proved popular during lockdown (Martin Rickett/PA)

Fitness coach Joe Wicks’s online exercise classes have proved popular during lockdown (Martin Rickett/PA)

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Fitness coach Joe Wicks’s online exercise classes have proved popular during lockdown (Martin Rickett/PA)

Senior curator Beatrice Behlen said people should think about putting objects aside.

“Nothing is too humble,” she said.

“The object doesn’t have to look great or special, but we are interested in what it means.

“Often when people think of museums, they think that what they have is not museum standard, but we have ticket stubs from the Tube, all sorts of things.”

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Objects from the Museum Of London’s collection from past epidemics and pandemics include an early 20th Century advert which claimed to prevent and cure influenza and malaria (Museum Of London)

Objects from the Museum Of London’s collection from past epidemics and pandemics include an early 20th Century advert which claimed to prevent and cure influenza and malaria (Museum Of London)

© Museum of London

Objects from the Museum Of London’s collection from past epidemics and pandemics include an early 20th Century advert which claimed to prevent and cure influenza and malaria (Museum Of London)

In a previous exhibition on the potential threat caused by any future epidemic, the Museum Of London displayed the mourning outfit Queen Victoria wore after her grandson died with Russian flu.

Now it wants to reflect the emptiness of the city, how social lives have developed digitally and how young people are reacting since schools closed.

It is also on the look-out for “memes and tweets” which have been widely shared.

Hair clippers and hair dye – as people cut and style their hair at home – rainbow drawings and popular items such as toilet paper could go on display.

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The dress ensemble worn by Queen Victoria when in mourning for her grandson (Museum Of London/PA)

The dress ensemble worn by Queen Victoria when in mourning for her grandson (Museum Of London/PA)

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The dress ensemble worn by Queen Victoria when in mourning for her grandson (Museum Of London/PA)

Fitness coach Joe Wicks’s online exercise classes have also proven extremely popular during lockdown conditions.

Curators also want to find a way of documenting the absence of things, whether that is “certain foods or hugs”.

Ms Behlen said: “If you were to tell people, in the future, what this was like, what would you say?

“What would you want people to remember from this time, and do you have anything that can help us tell this story?”

Individuals and organisations who would like to donate objects can get in touch via social media @MuseumofLondon or email enquiry@museumoflondon.org.uk.

PA