COVID-19 Collecting

The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences museums want to collect material that will record the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in our community of students, staff, researchers and colleagues in the health sector, to tell the stories of this moment in time for future generations. How has this pandemic transformed our lives?

Our (collective) experience of 2020 began with the anxiety inducing fire and smoke of the Australian “Black Summer” bushfire season of 2019/2020: the two events, fire and pandemic, crossed over at one point.

Themes our collection hope to explore include:

  • Leadership: how did we navigate this crisis?
  • Lock down: how did we survive or thrive?
  • Learning, Teaching and Research: how did we continue to study and work?
  • Health Services: how did we provide services?

We are collecting:

Images that tell of life before lock down - Prior to the lock down there was a sense foreboding but many people were still immersed in the consequences of the bushfires. How have you captured your experiences of this time?

  • Events e.g. The International Women’s Day event. Numbers were down and there was a sense of impending crisis;
  • Photographs;
  • Social media posts.

Images and objects that tell of life in lock down - During the lock down many of us have been required to work from home and limit our movements. Alternatively, if on the front line, we have been in the midst of the pandemic. How have you captured your experience of this time?

  • Art works;
  • Photographs;
  • Social media posts e.g. Peter Doherty’s tweet about Dan Murphy’s opening hours.

Crucial items used during this time - What items have you deemed essential during the pandemic and why? What is the context for each item, both the place it was used and the reason, e.g. Masks are being used, or not used, in various places and for different purposes, depending on the wearer’s intent.

  • Objects;
  • Ephemera e.g. COVID-19 posters used around campus.

Evidence of changes to the way we study and work - The University of Melbourne has shown great leadership in this crisis: from swiftly creating a virtual campus to leading research and debate on issues arising from the pandemic. What do you think are the key examples of these significant innovations and their consequences, positive and negative?

  • Videos e.g. Dean’s and Head of Schools' videos;
  • Articles and news items written by members of staff, students, alumni;
  • Web seminars;
  • Social media posts.

Interviews with researchers, health workers and others on the front line - Many health workers, researchers and students have been in the front line. What are your perspectives on work in the front line?

  • Web seminars;
  • Media interviews;
  • Oral histories.

How are we collecting?

Please complete the attached form outlining:

  • The objects you wish to submit;
  • Your reasons for offering the items to the collection; and
  • Your personal relationship with the objects.

Form (DOCX 14.5 KB)

Please return this form, along with images of the proposed donation to the subject title 'COVID-19 Collecting'.

Thank you for your interest.

Banner Image: Ambulance drivers posed in front of ambulance, Ballarat Influenza epidemic, c.1919, 8.5 x 14.0 cm, Medical History Museum, MHMA2025.4