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Empty playgrounds, social distancing, the NMA wants to document your pandemic experience

Dominic Giannini19 April 2020

Amber and Bobby Crook made the best out of the situation to capture humorous wedding photos within the physical distancing guidelines. Photo: Samuel White Photography.

COVID-19 is a momentous event in Australia’s history and the National Museum of Australia wants to make sure that your experiences are documented for posterity.

They’re asking all Australians to help them create an enduring record of the first pandemic of the 21st century, a pandemic marked by self-isolation, social distancing and empty shelves in the age of plenty.

And with each of us carrying a camera 24/7, making videos and posting isolation-selfies, there should be plenty of evidence for the best-documented pandemic in history, ranging from physically distanced weddings to the peak-hour ‘rush’ to get to work (from bedroom to desk).

Amber and Bobby Crook originally cancelled their wedding after months of planning, energy and money because of the new physical distancing laws, but instead of letting the circumstances overcome them, the couple decided to look for a silver lining.

“The more we thought about it, all the smaller details we were fussing over no longer mattered and we realised what was really important to us was the marriage itself,” Amber told Region Media.

“We missed having family and friends around but have organised wedding celebrations for November and hopefully everyone will be well and truly ready for a party by then!”

Emma Monaghan and her now-husband Andrew moved to Canberra from Adelaide eight months ago and were also supposed to be married in front of all their family and friends “but they closed the border to SA the week before”, Emma said.

“After crying for 24 hours after hearing the news, the thought of not being able to see our families for months and months, we decided to bring the wedding forward to give us some happiness.”

They ended up getting married in front of seven close friends and family on Monday, 23 March. Emma baked the cake and did her hair and make-up herself, while Andrew bought the flowers that morning.

Otis Dining Hall in the ACT – where the couple were set to hold their reception – donated a three-course meal, delivered to the couple by the chef personally.

“It was a beautiful day and evening and one that we will never forget,” Emma said.

The NMA said they are working with the public to bridge the physical distance between people at this difficult time through stories like Emma’s and Amber’s.

“Join a conversation and share your stories of life in a pandemic, the like of which is unprecedented in our lifetimes,” the museum said.

“In what is already a Defining Moment in both Australia’s and the world’s history, COVID-19 is challenging every aspect of our lives.

“Here at the National Museum we are collecting stories, objects, images and video to explore and mark this time in a joint effort with you to help make sense of what is happening around us and to connect us all socially and emotionally, while we are physically distant.”

To share your experience, visit the NMA’s Facebook group Bridging the Distance – Sharing our COVID-19 Pandemic Experiences.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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