The 2020 to 2021 COVID-19 Pandemic has touched every aspect of Victorian lives and seen significant and potentially permanent change in some areas. Museums Victoria has a mandate to collect and preserve the most important moments in Victorian history, such as this one. Collecting the Curve is a contemporary collecting project which is ensuring that Victorian experiences of the pandemic are preserved for future generations in your state collection.

The project documents and brings together objects and stories across five key themes.

Flattening the curve: medical research and public health approaches

Explores the ground-breaking medical research being done in labs across the state to understand and combat the virus. As well as the ways individuals, organisations and the government are implementing public health measures to help reduce community transmission. It also captures the stories of the essential workers as they've gone to work so we can stay home.

Significant objects and stories in this theme include:

  • The first Australian images taken of SARS-CoV-2 on Friday, 31 January 2020. Captured by Dr Jason Roberts, Head of the Electron Microscopy and Structural Virology Laboratory at the Doherty Institute.
  • The vial and syringe from the first Pfizer vaccinations at the Melbourne Airport Vaccination Hub.
  • Photographs and objects from First Peoples' Health and Wellbeing.

Living the curve: community and personal stories

Focuses on personal stories and those of communities coming together to support one another as the world around them changed. It shares the many and varied ways Victorians have responded to and experienced life during the pandemic. From panic buying to creative responses and stories of isolation.

Significant objects and stories in this theme include:

  • The experience of a family in mandatory quarantine after returning from overseas during the pandemic.
  • Bri Hammond's Isolation Portraits - Public Housing photographic series.
  • Kofi Aden's Gratitude Journal.

Adapting the curve: social and economic impacts

Digital revolutions, widespread unemployment and the end of peak hour are just some of the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. Discover how companies have pivoted from distilling gin to manufacturing hand sanitizer and how individuals and whole industries are managing with mass closures.

Significant objects and stories in this theme include:

  • Images by Museum Staff of an empty Tullamarine Airport
  • Images of working and learning at home 

Remembering the curve: previous Victorian epidemics

Coronavirus is not the first epidemic Victorians have lived through. From smallpox to Spanish influenza explore the stories of previous epidemics from those who lived through them and the people and organisations who worked to combat them.

Significant objects and stories in this theme include:

  • Vaccine manufactured by Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) for the 1919 Spanish Influenza.

Documenting the curve: stories from museum staff

Come behind the scenes and out into the field with museum photographers, curators, collection managers and conservators. We share how we go about undertaking a rapid contemporary collecting project during a Pandemic.

The collection will continue to grow as it documents the changing experiences of Victorians during the COVID-19 epidemic and its aftermath.

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