A Question of Collecting

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It’s International Museums Day!

What does a museum do on International Museums Day? Well, in our case – and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of museums around the world – we are getting ready to open the Museum to the public (starting this Wednesday at 10:00 AM), and that means implementing a whole bunch of new practices to help cope with COVID-19.

And that, in turn, means we’re constantly thinking about COVID-19 and the impact it’s having on the Creston Valley.

Most community museums focus on the history of their communities. We build up collections of artifacts and photographs and archival documents that illustrate that history – the big events and the small. To build those collections, we rely on donations from people who have collected things as the community’s story unfolds around them – and sometimes, we just have to hope, when that history was unfolding however long ago in the past, somebody thought to record it!

Here’s an example: the fire that destroyed the Mercantile store on the corner of 10th and Canyon in April 1949. That was a big event! Everyone in town went down to watch, and many who are still living remember exactly what they were doing when it happened. And yet, this is the only photo we have, or have ever seen, of that event.

The photo at the top of the page, showing a track meet at what is now Centennial Park, is another example. Everyone in the Creston Valley wound up at that park at some point – for school track meets, for the early Blossom Festival celebrations, for the Harlem Globetrotters when they came here in 1938, for skating or curling or the Fall Fair or any one of hundreds and hundreds of other events. But we have very few photos that even show Park Pavilion, the structure that housed many of these activities, and most of those merely show it – or a corner of it – in the background.

Well, history is unfolding around us right now. Sooner or later, this moment, this COVD-19 experience that we’re living in, is going to feature in a museum exhibit or presentation (or whatever museums are doing to share their community’s stories by that time). And that means we, today, need to be collecting things that help tell that story. If we do, a century from now, people will be able to do things like this:

I “borrowed” this from McGill University, if you want to check it out!

We’d like to invite you to help us collect the photos, objects, ideas, and experiences we will need or want to tell people in the future what this time is like. Please share your thoughts in the comments or, if you prefer, use this handy, seven question survey:

Thanks for completing this COVID Collecting Survey! All questions are optional - though we value your open feedback - and you only need to leave your name and contact information if you want to.

How old are you? (please select whichever one best describes how you see yourself)
In which part of the Creston Valley do you live? (enter your community, neighbourhood, etc)
Can you tell us in what ways COVID-19 has impacted your daily life, both good and bad?
Please tell us about any positive changes or happenings you have seen in the community as a result of COVID-19.
What challenges have you seen in the community as a result of COVID-19?
Imagine you are creating an exhibit ten years from now about COVID-19 and its impact on the Creston Valley. What would you want to put in that exhibit?
Anything else you'd like to add?
If yes, please give us your name and contact information. We promise we will use it only to follow up with you on this survey!

Thanks for your input!