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Collecting the community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

THE Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) received a colourful donation as part of the COVID-19 Stories Project – a rainbow sign used as the iconic hero image for the collection campaign.

The COVID-19 Stories Project is a partnership between TMAG and Libraries Tasmania, which aims to capture the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of everyday Tasmanians to create a collective memory for the future.

Launched in May this year, a diverse and fascinating array of objects has already been added to the TMAG collection to help document the Tasmanian community’s experiences of this historic event.

Ten-year-old Fern Townsend created the rainbow sign in the early days of the pandemic to help spread some happiness to the world.

“I was feeling a bit down and not as happy as I usually was, so I decided to do a painting on some cardboard,” Fern said.

Fern placed the sign outside the family home in Hobart, where it soon attracted positive comments from passers-by who appreciated its message.

“Sometimes I was jumping up and down on the trampoline and people would say ‘I like your posters’,” Fern said.

Fern has now donated her rainbow sign, as well as another sign with the message “we’re all in this together” to TMAG to help future generations understand what life was like for Tasmanians during the pandemic.

“We are thrilled that Fern has donated her two signs to TMAG,” senior curator of cultural heritage Kirstie Ross said.

“As part of the state’s collection, they will remind future generations of how Tasmanians remained hopeful in the face of a lethal and invisible virus that disrupted the fabric of everyday life.”

The COVID-19 Stories Project is still open for contributions, and welcomes donations like Fern’s which represent the voice of the younger members of the community.

Details of a submission can be sent to covid19stories@education.tas.gov.au.

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The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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