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The Nelson Provincial Museum and Nelson Public Libraries are encouraging people from the
Nelson Tasman region to record their experiences as they move through the COVID-19 Alert
Levels, and may select some of these records for inclusion in the Museum’s Regional
Heritage Collection.

The Museum has already identified and contacted a cross-section of people in the region for
records, while the Library, in partnership with the Museum, has introduced a ‘Life in the
Bubble’ campaign to connect with members of the general public.

Sectors of the community approached by the Museum include front line workers such as
medical personnel, supermarket workers, first responders and rest home carers, along with
small business owners, iwi representatives, diarists, historians, photographers, artists and
others. Physical or digital forms of poetry, art, journals, oral histories, video, photographs,
objects and crafts are just some of the ways in which people are being invited to capture
their personal experiences of the country’s united efforts against the virus.

“We are all in the middle of a global phenomenon which may turn out to be one of the defining historic moments of the 21st century”,

says Nelson Provincial Museum CEO Lucinda
Blackley-Jimson. “We know that some people are already recording their thoughts and
feelings during this time. This can be helpful in processing what is happening to them
personally, with their whanau and with the wider world. But these personal stories may also
become fascinating insights for people to look back on, and can, in a museum context, be
simply invaluable for future generations.”

Collections reflecting an individual’s experience of a shared moment are in keeping with the
Nelson Tasman Regional Heritage Collection, of which the Museum is the kaitiaki. The
Collection contains a great depth of resources such as diaries, photographs and artworks
that reveal what it was like to live through other epochal events.

Records of the 1918 influenza pandemic, the world wars, and natural disasters such as the
Murchison earthquake and the more recent Pigeon Valley fires are all held in safekeeping at
the Museum for the community to appreciate and from which they can learn. Personal
records from local historical figures and early settlers, such as Frederick Gibbs and Alfred
Fell, have gone on to inform critical displays at the Museum, and collection items have
helped hundreds of students, researchers and family historians to gain deeper insights into
critical times for the region.

Records related to COVID-19 that are selected for inclusion in the Museum’s collection will
help the local community deepen its understanding of this extraordinary moment in the
region, and the Museum’s collaboration with Nelson’s Public Libraries presents an
opportunity to compile a dynamic range of materials.

“One of the Libraries’ hidden strengths is in how we incite the telling of oral histories”, says
Library Community Programmes Coordinator Rosamund Feeney. “Our team at the front
desk are always being told stories by our visitors – we get a lot of talkers here! We’re
looking to capture these conversations more formally once we are open again.”

Any submissions of records to the Museum will be assessed against collecting criteria,
including, how they represent certain aspects of the region during lockdown and in the
aftermath. If you would like to discuss the submission of physical COVID-19-related material
please contact the Museum on Digital material can be
submitted immediately via the Libraries website:

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