It has started with an online survey. In the second half of March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a radical reduction in social contacts, the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow launched an anonymous online questionnaire with 45 questions about ʺOur lives in the time of cholera”.
In the ethnographic research that we carry out at the Museum, both direct contact and conversation are important. This time we faced a challenge: how to create a space for the exchange of experiences in which everyone will feel safe?. The founder of the Museum, Seweryn Udziela, inspired us. At the end of the 19th century, he used the questionnaire method to investigate the lives of rural residents. In order to look at the changes taking place at this difficult time, we repeated this gesture and we sent into the world a set of questions that we considered important.
By the end of June, 1524 questionnaires had been sent to us. People from different places in Poland (and also from other countries) wrote about their lives, about the rhythm of the day, their professional situation, their relations with others, their emotions and thoughts, among others. All the stories obtained during the survey will be deposited in the Museum's collection. Thanks to them, future generations will be able to learn what our life looked like in the time of cholera.
Small fragments of the stories obtained during the research have already been elaborated and published in the form of "Cut-outs". In these small posts we wanted to share the incoming content. We tried to tell you how we are experiencing the pandemic – together, although in isolation, in many different ways. In someone else's experience we also often found ourselves. All the "cut-outs" can be found here (in polish):
However, the project is not over. We are still open to talk and curious about your stories. We encourage you to co-create with us the virtual exhibition called The Quarantine Collection – we have just started, but we are still waiting for more applications. Join us!