Galway City Museum is inviting the people of Galway to write a letter to future generations of Galwegians as part of their “Dear Galway” pandemic project. The idea of this project is to ask the public to share their lived experiences of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and to offer advice to future generations on how best to cope during such a crisis.
Letter writers may wish to address some of the following questions. How did you feel when you first found out about the COVID-19 pandemic? How did the pandemic affect your family, social, work, college or school life? What issues have most concerned you about the pandemic? How have you marked any big events or occasions during this time? How have you been passing your free time at home during the pandemic? Given the restrictions on face to face meetings, how have you been staying in contact with friends and loved ones? Have you acquired any new skills or hobbies during this time? Have you or anybody you know become sick during the COVID-19 outbreak? What has been your experience in responding to this sickness? In what ways do you think that COVID-19 is affecting people’s wellbeing, physical or mental? What has been the most challenging aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic? Has anything positive come out of the situation? What have you learned from the experience that may be of value to future generations?
The museum team are very grateful to all those who have taken the time to write and submit a letter. So far many of the responses touch on how people have had to slow down against their will but in most cases with very positive results. As Ashline Sunny says “It has made me realize that things that I thought were so unnecessary such as seeing people or hugging people have become so important to me now.” So many letters talk about how much we all took for granted before the pandemic hit. Reka Fabian aptly quotes singer Joni Mitchell’s lyrics “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. This is also echoed in Tara Lane’s simple but sound advice to “live slower, chill out and not stress the small stuff.”
Many have submitted poems with titles such as Ghost Session by Pete Mullineaux, Packing for Lockdown by Holly Lusted and Pandemic Purgatory by Shea Fahy. The many survival tips shared have made for some inspiring reading too. Jarlath McDonagh has spent time re-kindling relationships with old friends, he has reached out to 650 of his friends, colleagues and acquaintances from many years and he’s not finished yet! Bernadette Murphy describes 2020 as “a peculiar year. It wasn’t what it was supposed to be, it was a year where my life as I knew it changed” and American student, Tricia C, who loved living in Galway shares her sudden uprooting experience, “I was ripped out of this beautiful city I had been planning to call home for a little longer, due to circumstances nobody had any control over.”
These are some of submissions the museum team have received so far. How has it been for you? Write about it!
The advice people have offered in the letters is as welcome as it is useful and we will share all of these wonderful submissions to you on our website www.galwaycitymuseum.ie and on our social media platforms. We invite you to submit additional material including photos, newspaper clippings, drawings if you wish and remind you that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to write the letter and spelling or handwriting should not be a deterrent.
Participants can submit their letters by post or by email up until and including Monday 1st March 2020. This deadline has been extended on account of the new lockdown. Handwritten or typed letters can be sent via post to “Dear Galway” Project, Galway City Museum, Spanish Parade, Galway, H91 CX5P. Scanned or typed letters can be emailed directly to email@example.com. Alternatively you can fill in our digital online version here.
Please title your letter “Dear Galway”. This project is open to all age groups and letters ‘as gaelige’ are most welcome too. All letters will form part of a digital archive to be made available for research purposes. A selection of the material submitted will also feature on the museum website and social media channels. The team at Galway City Museum look forward to hearing from many more Galwegians about their individual experiences.
This initiative has been supported by Creative Ireland through Galway City Council.
Galway City Museum will remain closed to the public in line with Level 5 government restrictions for dealing with Covid-19. Virtual visitors can still enjoy the museum collections, exhibitions and online learning resources by browsing through this website.
The Museum Team