They say distance makes the heart grow fonder. Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have been finding unique ways to stay connected while at home. Now, an awesome new virtual Ottawa Isolation Museum is helping people connect from all over the world.
The museum contains photo submissions of items that best represent our time in quarantine.
You’ll find everything from screenshots of text conversations to images of cats learning to play poker.
The Isolation Museum was created and curated by Ottawa resident Kit Chokly and has since become a source of reflection for people everywhere.
Narcity reached out to Chokly to see what inspired this now-globally-reaching project.
“I live in Ottawa and was laid off right at the beginning of this pandemic in Canada. Spending a lot of time at home, I began thinking about my relationship to people, places, and objects while living in isolation,” Chokly explained via email.
“These thoughts led to me producing an audio segment about a clock my sister built me.
She lives all the way in Australia, but talking to her about the clock showed how objects can bridge relationships both around the world and through time.”
Chokly went on to explain that many of us are facing unexpected feelings of loneliness right now and the museum is just one way to combat those feelings.
“Interviewing my sister made me realize that sharing our experiences of being in isolation is one way we can approach this loneliness. I decided to put out a call for submissions on these stories and the Isolation Museum was born,” they explained.
“While submissions were first from other Canadians, the Museum now receives submissions from places all over the world.”
Those who wish to submit their own "isolation artifacts" can do so by heading to the "Submit an Artifact" page on the museum’s website.
There are multiple collections on the site including popular ones like Creative, Plants and Animals, Games, and surprisingly, Public Places.
But Chokly says you shouldn’t let that limit your submissions.
One of the most touching submissions so far has been a photograph of someone’s grandmother on her 99th birthday, photographed through the window of her Alzheimer’s care centre.
As Chokly explains, they hope this museum’s impact lasts long after the pandemic passes.
“Once this pandemic is over, I hope that we can look back at the Museum and see it, too, as an object that tells a story about human connection across great distances and under extraordinary circumstances.”
As far as time capsules go, a living museum of life in a pandemic is pretty remarkable.