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News Release from St Albans Museums - Collecting in the time of Covid

Publication date:

Living through the Covid Pandemic is the biggest challenge faced by the people of St Albans for over seventy years and has undoubtedly had an impact on every individual and community group living in St Albans. As part of our commitment to contemporary collecting, St Albans Museums is working on two projects to record the events of this eventful year.

Lockdown Life was the idea of local resident Joanne Ling who saw the creative ways local community groups responded to lockdown and wanted to find a way to share some of the amazing work that has been happening locally.

We are asking any local community groups to share their experiences from when the lockdown was first enforced on the 23rd March 2020 in a creative format. Groups we are already working with have created films, photograph projects, limericks and a whole range of artworks.

Joanne Ling said:

I was inspired by events such as 'Life in a day' and 'Hold Still' in which people were given opportunities to showcase their lives on a particular day or during the pandemic and thought it would be a lovely idea if we can reach out to the local community groups in St Albans to share their experiences from the national lockdowns. I felt we needed something to look forward to and provide a chance to celebrate life after lockdown together as a St Albans community.

The second project is Nic Madge’s Pandemic Portraits. Since October 2020 Nic has been recording the way in which we are surviving the Pandemic by making portraits of people as they go about their daily lives.

Each photograph shows an individual with and without their facemask with a quote underneath about how the Pandemic has affected them. These images capture a moment in time of St Albans under lockdown. Nic Madge plans to keep taking photographs for a year to the end of September 2021. The full collection of images will then be added to St Albans Museums' collection.

The exact format the exhibitions these two projects will take depends on the changing lockdown world we live in. There will be online exhibitions and, when we are able to reopen, we will also be hosting pop up exhibitions for both projects.

If you are a community group who has created something during lockdown or documented your experiences  or if you are an individual who would like to be included in Pandemic Portraits you can visit our website for more information and contact details:

Cllr. Anthony Rowlands, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Heritage and the Public Realm at St Albans City and District Council, said:

The people of St Albans have reacted to the challenges of lockdown with resilience and positivity. These projects are a chance to mark both the challenges we have faced and the creative ways in which our community has come together to face them. In assembling this evidence of how we have lived through the pandemic, we are indebted to the contributors and our museum staff who are also enabling future generations to have a visual insight into our experiences.

Image: Residents of Culver Road photographed during Clap for Carers in summer 2020 as part of the Culver Road Love project.

For further press information and images, please contact: Sarah Keeling, Curator, St Albans Museum + Gallery. Email:

Councillor Contact: Cllr. Anthony Rowlands, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Heritage and the Public Realm, St Albans City and District Council. Email:; Tel: 07761 232064.


 About St Albans Museums
St Albans Museums manages St Albans Museum + Gallery, Verulamium Museum, the Hypocaust, the medieval Clock Tower, Sopwell Ruins and the thousands of objects in the City’s collection. Across our sites, we showcase over 2,000 years of priceless heritage and host cutting-edge art exhibitions, sharing local, national and world treasures with all.