The Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto (MHNC-UP) is gathering materials and objects to tell the story of Covid-19 to future generations. Masks, ventilators, 3D printed face shields, research methods and results; these are but some of the features to be included in the “History of Covid-19”. The next step is to tell the story to the community.
Fátima Vieira, the vice-rector of the UP for Culture stated to the UP News Portal that “museums have a responsibility towards the future communities. The artefacts we are collecting and storing will enable the storytelling of the creativity, the resilience and solidarity, besides the scientific breakthroughs”. The vice-rector furthers that “this is the way we put the MHNC-UP at the core of community life, by making it feel that it is also its memory that is preserved”.
In turn, Rita Gaspar, curator of the Archaeological, Ethnographic and Biological Anthropology collections also states that “as professionals that preserve memory, curators all over the world felt the urge to build collections that would mark this moment and tell this story. Portugal was no different”.
The purpose of gathering these items is to, first, illustrate the “answers by the civil society, namely the production of protective gear that lacked in hospitals; and, second, show how the business fabric altered its routines to respond to the needs, and companies have reinvented themselves, by developing equipment to hospitals centres and to the civil society”.
“It is important to keep this memory”, the museum curators enthuses, “by spotlighting the fact that social masks were produced by the community, companies that produced cotton buds started producing swabs, in almost no time, jointly with the academia, and even the centre of research has developed rapid tests”.
With a lot to collect and catalogue still, and with vaccines in the way, the museum repository of Covid-19 is an ongoing endeavour.