A virtual lockdown museum

This post is inspired by The Museum of London’s Collecting Covid project which aims to acquire both physical objects and first hand experiences of living in lockdown London.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme West Midlands office is based at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and like London, Birmingham has seen empty streets, cafes, trams & trains and of course our museum galleries.

We are not sure at the moment when we will be able to get back to our beloved yellow office, a bright and cheery space at the home of The Staffordshire Hoard, one of the most important collection of Pre-Raphelite paintings in the world and the permanent exhibition of Birmingham, Its people, its history which is where we could imagine our Covid objects being placed in the future.

Our team of volunteers have shared the objects that they would include. We already knew we had a talented group of people volunteering for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in the West Midlands. We now know of their other super musical and crafting talents.


The first piece of knitting I’ve ever got past a few rows and it’s only the free time permitted by the lockdown that’s allowed me to sit and learn properly!


I thought I’d share a picture of my worktable, which has given me some solace during lockdown. I’ve spent a lot of time here, trying to be creative, but mostly trying to be quiet, as my wife teaches in the room below, and my daughter works in the room next door. Now, you might think it looks a bit cluttered, but I can always find some space to work. If I had a bigger table or more storage, I probably wouldn’t work any differently.


I’m teaching myself the electric piano, the advantage being that you can use headphones and not disturb significant others.  I find playing scales very mindful and relaxing – learning to read music not so much! If I can play a piece from beginning to end eventually I’ll be very happy.


I bought this sewing machine when I got married for £10, 50 years ago!  It is a sturdy, no-frills machine that just keeps on going.  Over the years I have made clothes and curtains and upholstery and during the last few weeks I have been doing curtains for my daughter-in-law and granddaughter (using Facebook and WhatsApp to work out what is needed!) and loose covers and cushions for myself.  I took the photo with some of the fabrics I have been working with – I love rich colours and patterns.  I will always then have the items I have created as a reminder of this strange time.

and myself

I would include this muffin tray. I have been enjoying the time to do lots of baking with my one year old son. He enjoys making a mess and covering the kitchen worktop in flour.