We have recently launched a new public appeal and mass digital observation project that will collect the experiences of living in Wales during this extraordinary time.
We will create a national memory and record of the pandemic in Wales with the support of the people of Wales. The appeal will start on the our website and through our social media channels.
We have an established history of recording the national memory of Wales, recognising that the life of every person matters. As part of this new collecting initiative we are launching a new mass digital questionnaire, inviting responses from a range of individuals, communities and organizations across Wales to record their experiences of lockdown.
The origins of this method of research can be traced back to 1937. During a time of unprecedented social change (the 1930s Depression), the Museum launched a public appeal and sent over 500 questionnaires to volunteers, communities, organizations and schools across Wales. The task was to record everyday lives, using community knowledge to inform the Museum’s future collecting. The archive at St Fagans National Museum of History contains almost 800 completed questionnaires, ranging in date from the late 1930s to the early 1980s, with many of the original volunteers recording their lives over a period of several decades.
In a quote from his book Amgueddfeydd Gwerin / Folk Museums, published in 1948, Iorwerth Peate advocated for museums to collect contemporary culture and history: “It is not enough… to show and preserve the things that have been; it is necessary to trace their organic continuity with the things that are and the things that shall be.”
As part of this initiative we will build a network of community collectors, collect oral histories and work with People’s Collection Wales to create an online gallery of images and responses from the questionnaires and collect objects relating to the pandemic in Wales post-lockdown. The questionnaire will inform the development of Wales’s COVID-19 collection. Participants will be asked to identify objects from their homes and communities that represent their experiences of lockdown. As restrictions ease, we will contact volunteers to collect and document their objects.
As a first step towards creating a national memory of the pandemic, we are asking individuals, communities and organisations from across Wales to complete an online digital questionnaire detailing their experiences and feelings of life in lockdown.
We would be very grateful if you could support the project by sharing these links with your networks. We want to reach as many people as possible to ensure that we archive a diverse range of voices and experiences.