A Prince George museum is putting a call out to the public for ‘pandemic artifacts’ for a new exhibit it hopes will be viewed for years to come.

Empty parking lot, March 2020 | Submitted by Tracy Calogheros

Curators at the Exploration Place are collecting items like handmade or branded masks, posters from canceled events, and locally distilled hand sanitizer.

They are also gathering the moments — pictures of eerily empty toilet paper aisles, Christmas by Zoom, or phone calls through windows of long-term care homes.

“When you’re faced with something like a worldwide pandemic and an entire community shutting down, there’s no question this is an event future generations will want to look back on,” CEO Tracy Calogheros told MyPGNow.

It started with a snapshot of the empty parking lot.

Calogheros captured the moment in March 2020, shortly after the museum shut down.

“I thought boy, this is weird. I’ve never seen this in my 28 years here,” she recalled.

“I realized these are the things we need to collect more of.”

Then, pictures of COVID-19 denying graffiti, health, and safety signage, and physically distanced lineups outside of pharmacies and grocery stores.

“The idea is to be able to have things that support telling the story of how people survived the pandemic,” said Calogheros.

To us, it’s the ‘new normal’ but it’s also a historical event, she explains, that’s why documenting everything in real-time is necessary.

“There are things we have learned that we would like to build into society going forward, like the digital pivot,” said Calogheros.

“If we don’t collect them and reflect on them when we are out of this moment of crisis, it’s very easy to forget.”

The Exploration Place plans to display the exhibit once the pandemic ends.