British Columbia

Staff at this B.C. museum want to read personal diary entries written during the pandemic

It's been said that we are living in unprecedented times. Now, a B.C. museum wants to ensure future generations can get a sense of what it was like to live through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Trail Museum and Archives is planning to exhibit records for future generations

Staff at the Trail Museum and Archives is really hoping to receive diaries that document the experience of essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

It's been said that we are living in unprecedented times.

Now, a B.C. museum wants to ensure future generations can get a sense of what it was like to live through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Trail Museum and Archives in the West Kootenay region of the province is asking area residents to donate their diaries, journals or other personal records that reflect how they felt and what they did during the coronavirus outbreak.

The plan is to exhibit these first-hand accounts at the museum years from now to give the public a sense of this historic moment.

"We can read the news. We can read the measures that are being put in place, but we don't really know how that lands with people," said museum manager Sarah Benson-Lord in an interview on Daybreak South.

She said a good journal entry could include the small details of daily living, writing about your emotions and ethical dilemmas, such as risking a trip to the shops for one item.

Anyone interested in donating their personal records to the Trail Museum and Archives can bring them to the facility, located at the city's Riverfront Centre on Bay Avenue, after the emergency health orders are lifted and the museum reopens. (trailhistory.com/museum)

Benson-Lord also recommends writing as if you expect someone to read it, rather than just keeping basic records about case numbers and daily tasks.

"I'd love to know what people are learning about themselves," she said, adding that keeping a journal is also an opportunity for people who don't sound off on social media to vent their frustrations.

The museum staff is particularly interested in submissions from essential workers that reveal their feelings and fears while working on the front lines of the health crisis.

Benson-Lord said the exhibition won't be displayed for at least five years, likely longer. She said the wait is necessary to see what ramifications the pandemic will have on society.

Museum staff can copy any donated records, so donors can keep a copy for themselves and donors can ask for privacy protection if their entries are particularly sensitive.

Donations can be made in-person at the Trail Museum and Archives at the city's Riverfront Centre once emergency orders are lifted and the facility reopens. Questions for museum staff can be emailed to history@trail.ca.

With files from Daybreak South

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.