There’s a lot going on right now.
You’re probably getting a lot of emails cancelling events you’ve been looking forward to for ages or outlining organisations’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is another one.
The museum is part of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), the peak body for education, training and setting standards of clinical practice for anaesthetists in Australia and New Zealand. On Friday, 13 March, ANZCA announced it was cancelling its 2020 annual scientific meeting, and all face-to-face meetings would be suspended until at least 12 April.
On top of that, Ulimaroa, the historic building that houses the museum, would also be closed down. This meant the museum would be closed to the public.
With all that going on, it seemed almost inevitable that on Monday, 16 March, the decision was made to set everybody up for working from home and close the facility for two weeks.
None of these decisions have been easy but have been made with the welfare of staff, volunteers and visitors in mind.
So, what does that mean for a museum?
Museums love visitors but we’ve taken the very sensible decision to close our doors for a while so we weren’t going to be having visitors anyway. Fortunately, we’e spent a lot of time over the past few years preparing our onsite exhibitions for the online environment. If you haven’t already, or even if you have, check out our online exhibitions.
And, without wanting to be flippant, a global pandemic is an excellent time to be collecting. At the moment, we’ve been collecting digital material. We’ve archived some Twitter threads, and sourced an infographic outlining airway management under Covid-19. It seems Twitter has also made it into academia with MLA officially devising a standard for citing tweets in academic papers. We’ve also asked a few people to put their thoughts on paper. First person accounts will give the objects an immediacy and significance they wouldn’t necessarily have without them.
We’ll continue tweeting and we’ve popped up on Instagram now. Follow along, say hello, let us know what you want from the museum right now. Remember to always have good cough etiquette, hand hygiene and 1.5 metres for social distancing.