Coronavirus has been an unprecedented event that has certainly made 2020 stand out as a year of historical significance. Nobody would have anticipated how the fatal virus has spread with such speed and ferocity across the world, or its impact in global social and economic terms.
This is why the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum in London is preparing to fill its display cases for hire with objects that define this period, The Guardian reported.
Speaking with the newspaper, senior design curator at the museum Brendan Cormier said: “The pandemic has this weird way of bringing to the fore objects you would never have thought about. Everything becomes heightened.”
He added: “There are so many designed objects and inventions coming out of the pandemic. But it’s going to take time to work out which ones are actually useful.”
The London centre is preparing to launch an online exhibition entitled Pandemic Object, which will look at different objects that have had particular significance during coronavirus and how their meaning and purpose has changed as the crisis overtook the world.
Familiar belongings have been repurposed to make masks, visors and gloves to keep people safe. Signs in windows, such as painted rainbows and appreciation messages for the NHS, have become the norm. Certain everyday goods, such as flour, soap and toilet paper, have become extremely sought after as people have had to self-isolate and have faced limited access to supermarkets, therefore forcing them to become more self-sufficient.
“Flour is now a privilege. To bake bread, you need to be able to work at home, and have time to invest. It’s probably not frontline key workers who have the pleasure of rediscovering the miracles of baking,” stated Mr Cormier.
As well as being used to bake bread and make cakes, flour is useful to keep children busy with baking or crafts and has provided a meditative benefit to those feeling anxious during quarantine.
In addition to this, the sewing machine seems to have had a rebirth, with more people dusting off their equipment or buying new ones to join the effort to make face masks or clothes for key workers.
“The great 19th Century invention of the sewing machine is still a ubiquitous household item,” the curator stated.
Being able to make personal protective equipment (PPE) when there has been a huge shortage of it has fuelled community-based altruism, as well as given people who cannot work and are at home on their own something to do to fill their time.
As social distancing rules still apply, the exhibition will be held online, allowing people to see the collection of artefacts from the safety of their living room.
The exhibition centre is also currently offering digital tours, quizzes, craft tutorials and family quizzes to keep everyone busy and engaged during lockdown.
Its Secrets of the Museum allows V&A fans to find out what goes on behind the scenes at the famous museum, looking at the work of the curators and conservators who work there. The six-part BBC2 series, which has been made with Blast! Films, can currently be found on BBC iPlayer.