The team at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery have launched a new project aimed at capturing people’s memories during the coronavirus pandemic.
Your Memory Box is something the whole family can get involved in, providing a permanent reminder in the years to come of the lockdown period.
A memory box is a ‘time capsule’ that connects an individual or a family with the past through the items contained within the box.
Memory boxes can be used in a range of ways and anyone can make one using almost any sized box or container (or even a scrapbook). They are simple to make and can be a great way for individuals or a family to reminisce over this particular time in history.
Anything can be stored in memory box – photographs, letters, objects, a diary, a treasure map. Anything that people feel will prompt a memory of this time.
Swindon Museum and Art Gallery staff have come up with a few ideas to get people started and the team are encouraging individuals to take a picture of their memory box or scrapbook and send them in to: firstname.lastname@example.org or share on the museum and art gallery’s social media pages.
Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, said: “Your Memory Box is a modern version of a time capsule. Whether it is a poster created in support of the NHS, a photograph taken during a daily walk, or something random like the prized hippopotamus that was knitted to keep yourself occupied over the last three months of lockdown.
“We want to encourage people to help us to mark this extraordinary period in our history. Help us create a lasting reminder for your family. I will be creating my own memory box and I hope as many local residents as possible also take part in the project. We can bring all these memories together, and share them with grandchildren and future generations.”
Ideas to put in Your Memory Box
Here are a few ideas of what you could put in your memory box.
Take Lots of Photos
Just because we are confined to our homes does not mean that we can’t take pictures and capture moments in time. Take pictures of who you are in lockdown with, what things you are doing, how your house looks during this time. There are some apps that will allow you to print photos free. Why not add pictures of someone, or people, you are missing. Don’t forget to write names and dates on the back.
Write how you feel. This is such a strange time for all of us and we are all likely experiencing feelings we might not have felt before. So write them down… you could build them into a poem, or a story. You might want to write a letter to someone you are missing? If you do not want to write words, you could make a drawing of how you feel.
Keep a diary. Each family member or people you are living with could write a day each. What have you done, what can’t you do that you would normally do? How are you keeping in touch with people? What is the weather like today? How does it make you feel? What would you like to tell someone when you see them again? You could ask family members who don’t live with you to do the same – you could share this with each other in this lockdown period.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden or access to an outside space, why not go and collect something from the garden to put in your Memory Box. Perhaps you could press a flower – you can find out how to do that online. If you don’t have real flowers, draw a picture of your favourite flower or what you can see out of your window. What else can you see? Do you have birds in your garden? Are there any bees? Why not draw a picture of your garden or favourite outside space?
Everyone loves to find treasure! If you have a garden or outdoor space, why not bury something in your garden, and make a treasure map to include in your memory box. Who knows, in years to come you might find your hidden treasure again!
Letters to Yourself
Write a letter to a future you. The whole family can do this activity. Think about your experience in lockdown and how it has made you feel. Think about what you want to do after lockdown. Are there any changes you want to make in your life? Have you tried any new things in lockdown that you want to carry on? Are there any activities or hobbies you want to try? How do you think society will change after this pandemic? You could seal these letters to a future you in an envelope and place in your Memory Box.
Why not make a playlist of your favourite music? You could actually create one to listen to during this period or write down the songs that have meant something to you during this period.
Letter from the Government
The Government wrote to all us about the pandemic. Do you still have it? In years to come, we won’t remember what it said, so keep it safe in your memory box.
Are you taking your daily exercise? Either outside in the fresh air or at home, via an online programme or app? Why not keep a fitness record? What do you enjoy? Or what do you really not like doing? Have you come up with any unusual ways to keep fit in your home? You could even take pictures of you exercising.
What are you missing?
We so often take for granted the things we love; our family, friends, our favourite food, places to visit, and just being outside. Why not write a list of all the things you are missing then perhaps pick a Top 5 and write about why they are so special to you.
Use labels to help with identification
It can also be a good idea to label the items. Maybe a note accompanying each item or a sticky label giving times and dates the object was used, dates a photo was taken, people’s names in the photo.