Museums & Galleries Edinburgh have launched a new Covid-19 contemporary collecting drive with an open call to the people of Edinburgh to contribute their own items and stories which reflect how life in the city and the city itself has been impacted by the global pandemic and lockdown. The curatorial team leading on this project are gathering public contributions in order to record and preserve this significant moment in Edinburgh’s history, so it can be chronicled for future generations.

The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown has affected every aspect of the lives of Edinburgh’s residents, and Museums & Galleries Edinburgh are keen to create a contemporary collection which charts these significant changes to everyday life in the city.

The call is for donations of objects and stories which capture the everyday experiences of the people of Edinburgh and the many ways in which they adapted and responded as their lives were transformed by Covid-19. Items such as a note of an offer of help received by a neighbour, pyjamas worn all day indoors or a rainbow artwork created in support of keyworkers are all welcome. These are of course only suggested items and the call is very much about recording those objects and stories which helped people cope and get through the many challenges and uncertainties presented by the pandemic. 

Those who are keen to contribute are asked to email anna.macquarrie@edinburgh.gov.uk with details and an image if possible on the item or items for potential donation. Given the current lockdown restrictions, no physical donations will be accepted until venues reopen but the curatorial staff will contact those contributors to make arrangements at an appropriate time.

City of Edinburgh Council Leader Adam McVey said: “This is an extraordinary period in our history that in due course we will want to look back on. By collecting objects, photographs and first-hand experiences of citizens now, we’re making sure we can capture this moment for future generations.

Depute Leader Cammy Day added: “Often we look back and wish we could ask previous generations about the historic events they lived through and witnessed – this is our chance to document Edinburgh and Covid-19. The stories and images we capture for this collection will create a valuable insight into 2020 for generations to come.”

Anna MacQuarrie, Curator of History, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh said; “Our social history collections reflect daily life in Edinburgh over some hundreds of years. It’s never been more important for us to continue to show changes in the city than during this pandemic. Object donations from Edinburgh residents will help us to preserve experiences of this challenging time for future generations to understand how everyday life in the city changed so much and so suddenly.”