Libraries Tasmania and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) are partnering on a long-term collecting project to document the Tasmanian community’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Stories Project seeks to capture the impact of this historic event on the lives and livelihoods of everyday Tasmanians to create a collective memory for the future.

As cultural institutions, both Libraries Tasmania and TMAG are aware of how crucial it is to collect this material now, so that future generations can comprehend how Tasmanians lived through the pandemic.

Both organisations are reaching out across Tasmania to collect photographs, writing, and other objects that have mattered to Tasmanians during this unprecedented period of disruption, social distancing and self-isolation.

Libraries Tasmania’s focus will be on ‘grass roots’ photographs taken by members of the public, as well as key documents and stories in written, digital, or audio-visual formats.

TMAG will focus on collecting three-dimensional items and the personal stories and meanings connected to them.

It is hoped that a wide range of items will be submitted, from personal digital photography to hardcopy items such as personal written accounts, artist diaries, posters and other material such as the contents of care packages used by Tasmanians in quarantine.

The project team will also contact others, including elderly Tasmanians in isolation, innovative business owners, or frontline staff who have gone beyond what they normally do in order to survive.

A range of stories and experiences to be preserved from the many submissions that will help document this pivotal moment in history, and bring it to life for future generations.

Both organisations envisage sharing the COVID-19 collections with the public at an appropriate time to enable Tasmanians to reflect on this experience from both a local and global perspective.

More information about the COVID-19 Stories Project and the process for submitting material can be found on the websites of Libraries Tasmania and TMAG: www.libraries.tas.gov.au and www.tmag.tas.gov.au

Elise Archer, Minister for the Arts