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As parts of Australia lock down again and we reflect on the year that's passed, the Museum is asking Australians to share their stories of how they are adapting and changing in the face of crisis.

Our Momentous online project asks people to submit their stories through a simple online form. The photos on this blog post were generously contributed to Momentous.

Side view of a bride and groom, both wearing face masks, reaching out to join hands.
COVID wedding

Recording recent crisis

Momentous documents the impact of  COVID-19 and the 2019–2020 bushfires. We'd really like to hear more of your COVID experiences. We've received lots of bushfire stories and hope you keep them coming.

Smart phone photos, videos and audio are perfect for Momentous – there is no need to be a professional photographer, filmmaker or sound technician.

Stories can be text (up to 500 words), photos (up to 5 with a 50 word description), video (up to 2 minutes) and audio (up to 2 minutes).

A boy sits atop a burnt tree stump, with burnt bushland behind.

These stories are creating an online record of 2 significant moments in Australia’s recent history. Momentous will not only seek to collect stories but present and re-present stories back to the public so that you can read, view and listen to the many diverse stories of Australians from across the country.

Momentous asks us to reflect on ourselves, our communities and our country – to share stories of resilience, hope, worry, anger and a wide range of human experiences. It asks us to share the profound, the unbelievable and the seemingly ordinary and everyday experiences that together capture a complex and nuanced picture of the world we live in today – an important record for future generations.

I hope you will join us – share your story – and feel something as you read, hear or view others’ stories.

Momentous follows 2 successful Facebook groups established by the Museum. The first, Fridge Door Fire Stories, was launched on 21 February 2020 to accompany the arrival of the the Bungendore Firies’ Fridge to the Museum. We asked people to share their experiences of the 2019–2020 bushfire season.

Colour photograph of a burning stump in bushland ravaged by a fire.

New year bushfire in Wombeyan caves NSW

A few weeks later, just after the Museum temporarily closed its doors to the public during lockdown, we launched Bridging The Distance: Sharing our COVID-19 Pandemic Experiences. Here, Australians began sharing their experiences of the pandemic in real-time. How was COVID-19 impacting their lives? What were the very real implications of restrictions? How was home-schooling young children? How was working from home, being stood down from employment or working flat out in frontline services?

These Facebook groups – both still active – provide space for reflection, conversation and the building of shared experiences in an existing social setting. They have been important for their members to make connections in time of disconnection and for some to feel less alone in their individual experiences.

View of a large empty room overlooking hills and a distant view of a lake and city.

The emptiness of Covid-19

In our collection

Green metal kettle damaged in Marysville bushfire, Black Saturday, 7 February 2009A fire-damaged green painted/enamelled stovetop metal kettle, with glass and building debris melted to the spout. Brown rust spots cover the whole surface of the kettle, and the lid has been fused shut.
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