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How will future generations know what the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis meant for Cairns? The Cairns Museum is hoping to answer that question by drawing on the community to help collate, document and share their experiences in real time. 

Suzanne Gibson, manager of Cairns Museum, said documenting first-hand accounts allowed the Cairns Museum and Cairns Historical Society to build a collection that would help future generations understand the experiences and impacts of the coronavirus in Cairns.

The project is seeking to capture a wide cross-section of local people, ages and backgrounds.

“We need help for this – this is a community collecting project in real time to gather an intangible personal record of the virus and its impacts on the personal lives of local people.

“Would you be willing to share your experience in a video diary of your or your family’s COVID experience? Are you currently keeping one?

“We are also looking for objects, images, ephemera and multimedia generated by this period of personal and professional lockdown.”

Ms Gibson said objects could be private items like shopping lists, house rules, timetables, motivational aids or it could be ephemera from a person’s new professional home-life created in response to the corona outbreak.

“We are also interested in how we as a community are responding digitally. What is home isolation in an image? What is home in a 60 second video? What is cabin fever making you do, try or create?

“We are proposing a project that has a wide collecting brief. We are seeking people to create content, as well as asking people to share what they are already making, creating and documenting.”

Ms Gibson said they were especially interested to hear from those working in frontline sectors, such as health (doctors and nurses), as well as retail, childcare, school teachers, volunteer organisations and tourism.

“At the end of this, we want to be able to  tell the story of what it was like to live through the COVID-19 pandemic in Cairns.”

Elements of the project will include: 

Video diaries: Reflections on the impacts of the lockdown experience

Written diaries : Reflections on the impacts of the lockdown experience

Ephemera: Capture what we are generating during the pandemic at a personal and domestic level

Images: Capture how we see the impacts of the pandemic around us and what quarantine looks like

Makers: Capture how we are responding creatively to the lockdown and social isolation

Digital Correspondence: Conversations between people during this time

Written Correspondence: Conversations between people during this time

Films: People tell their own narratives of place – my home in lockdown.

To register your interest, please visit and complete the relevant registration form.

Cairns Museum can be contacted on 4051 5582 or email

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