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by • 7 Apr, 2020 • Case studies, InspirationComments (0)905

Collecting the story of a crisis

Earlier this week the team of VISSCH+STAM launched coronacollectie.nl. On this website, everyone can contribute to the historiography of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this effort, when the crisis is over, we will be able to supply Dutch museums and archives with as many personal stories and memories as possible. Collectively, these contributions tell the story of this important moment in our history. Not from an official standpoint, but from the point of view of the regular person.

The Corona crisis is the largest crisis in our country since the Second World War. The impact is enormous, both in healthcare as well as financially, economic and socially. The scope of the impact remains to be seen, but it is certain that our lives will be influenced by it for years to come.

Someday, however, the COVID-19 crisis is history. What stories will we tell about it then? Just like we can only deal with this crisis together, we must also record the stories about it together, preferably now. Together because there are many different personal perspectives on the crisis that all deserve a place in the common narrative. Now because the emotions and perception of the moment are most relevant for the understanding of this event. And it is exactly these aspects that may get lost in a torrent of analysis and contemplation when the crisis is over.

Every museum collection is a collection of stories. These stories tell us something about who we are, what we consider important and valuable, what we thought, think and imagine. What gives us joy, and what gives us sorrow. Museums and heritage institutions tell these stories through objects (material heritage) and intangible and living heritage, such as experiences, events, and emotions. We collect them all on coronacollectie.nl

For me personally, coronacollectie.nl brings together a couple of things. First of all, the strength of our team at VISSCH+STAM to go from an idea to fully functioning and well-designed cocreation platform in next to no time. Erik Schilp phoned me last Wednesday with the idea, we worked flat out on Thursday with Robin Stam and Anton Kos to make it happen, and soft-launched on Friday. It’s a pleasure to work in this way, remotely, using our creativity and accessible online tools to do the job. Secondly, it shows that our extensive experience helps in quickly setting up approaches to collectively tell stories that make a difference.

We’re hoping for many contributions from all corners of the country. If you happen to be in the Netherlands and have an image to share, a meme that made you laugh or a loved one who deserves to be remembered, please contribute at coronacollectie.nl. Thanks!

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