The Greater Vernon Museum & Archives, along with all other non-essential businesses and organizations, closed its doors to the public three weeks ago in accordance with social distancing measures.
“Like so many people in our community, we at the museum think a connection with arts, culture, and heritage is absolutely essential to our well-being,” said executive director Steve Fleck. This is why he was thrilled that the GVMA has been given a lead role in managing and maintaining the Isolate & Create website.
An initiative of the Regional District of the North Okanagan, with online resources made possible with funding through the RDNO, the Isolate & Create site highlights the online resources, content and programming of not for profit organizations across the North Okanagan are creating during this time of isolation.
“There are so many amazing project partners, from all across the North Okanagan, offering fantastic resources the public can access online in one place – a live animal cam, daily arts challenges, nature education materials, how-to videos, a virtual gallery tour, and more,” said GVMA community engagement coordinator Gwyn Evans.
“But not only that – it gives visitors to the site ways to share their own creations and experiences during isolation,” explains Fleck. “All of our experiences during this time, as individuals and as a community, really are our shared history in the making.”
“Now, what we’d really love to do, is to have people feel inspired to share their own stories of isolation, through art, photography, writing, videos. Anything your feel inspired to post or share – a cute photo of a pet, a recipe, a photo of a child’s drawing, a teen’s TikTok.”
“You may think what you’re creating, or how you’re coping during isolation is silly or mundane,” said the museum’s program coordinator Laisha Rosnau. “But that’s the magic of our shared history – most of it is made up of all these seemingly mundane every day moments, impacted every once in a while by big events, like the one we’re currently living through.”
GVMA has several resources on the Isolate & Create site already – oral histories, including one of a nurse during the 1918 Flu Pandemic, glimpses into what museum curator, Cuyler Page, is doing behind the scenes in the museum while it is closed, an online book club of historical fiction based in the Okanagan, and more.
“And, we’ve had a lot of fun putting it all together – the website, the ideas, the resources,” said Fleck. “Until we can be back in the museum, working together in person, it’s been great to create this together as we isolate in our own home working spaces.” He adds, “We hope it inspires others to do the same.”
Go to www.okcreateonline.com for resources, ideas and inspiration from all the project partner organizations.