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PEOPLE are being asked to share their stories and experiences of living in lockdown to help Wiltshire Council create a new archive.
The council’s Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre wants to make a collection that reflects people’s individual and collective experiences during lockdown for future generations to study.
Those studying the 1918/19 flu pandemic turned to the archives and tomorrow’s historians will do the same for COVID-19.
The Wiltshire and Swindon Archive at the history centre in Chippenham holds nationally and internationally important documents charting over 800 years of the county’s history, its people, places and events. As well as official records it holds personal documents – letters, diaries, sketchbooks and scrapbooks, photos, artwork and more. With a few exceptions all are freely accessible to the public, when the centre is open, with archivists and community history advisors on hand to help people explore and discover their heritage.
The history centre wants to create a new collection that will show how lives have been transformed by this global crisis. The centre wants people to think about what future generations might want or need to know about 2020, COVID-19 and living in lockdown. The record of experiences might be written – a diary or poetry – but could also be drawn, photographed, painted or crafted. This is an opportunity to make a creative response to challenging times.
People are also asked to keep hold of items such as leaflets, official communications, posters, flyers – which can also be added to the centre’s local studies collections.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Cabinet Member for Heritage, said: “Whether you are young or old, furloughed or keyworker, school or university student, a family or living on your own – we want your stories.
“The Wiltshire and Swindon Archive belongs to the people, and this is an opportunity for them to share their story with future generations. There is no doubt we are currently living through a time that will be remembered and discussed for generations to come, and it’s important we document it as much as possible, and ensure that people’s real voices and experiences aren’t lost.”
For more information about how to get involved with the Living in Lockdown project, people should visit the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre website at www.wshc.eu.
This is part of Wiltshire Council’s Active Communities resources to support people during this difficult time. The resource page covers a variety of topics, including the various library services available online – rhyme times, story times, e-books/magazines, resources on getting creative through mediums like song, dance, art and literature and opportunities to explore Wiltshire’s history.
The Active Communities online resources can be found at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-active-communities.