COVID-19 and the Post

Take part in our project to document the COVID-19 crisis, by submitting items you’ve received via post during the pandemic.

Throughout 2020, the post has been a lifeline for communities across the UK and the world. It’s carried our thoughts to those we have been separated from and supported those that rely on it for vital supplies.

Lockdown Post: a letter, handmade face covering and mail art envelope © Rehana Gittens

When we closed our doors temporarily in March, we encouraged you to connect with loved ones and support those self-isolating. Now, three months later, we need your help to capture this moment in time.

How can I get involved

Postal networks have long been a part of our social infrastructure, but the COVID-19 emergency has provided new and different meanings to the purpose and value of post. We want our collections to reflect how postal operations have changed to deal with the pandemic, how people are using them to maintain personal relationships and the importance of post to the economy.

We aim to build an expansive view of this significant moment in history by collecting physical objects and personal accounts which reflect the complex and shifting relationship people have with the post, including the very real impact on postal and delivery workers. These items will join our collection, reflecting the latest chapter in our 500-year-old story.

You can submit suggestions of items covering the period from March 2020 onward, that you would like to donate to the museum, around three areas:

  • Letters and Envelopes We are interested in collecting letters and envelopes, whatever the content, as well as any mail art that you may have created or received.
  • Greetings and Post Cards Greetings cards reflects how the post has enabled us to mark special occasions, without seeing each other in person. Many new designs have been created that respond to world events and we are interested in considering these too.
  • Parcels and Packaging Across the country businesses have used the post to continue trading during the pandemic. We are interested in the parcels and packaging companies have been using, and what the contents of parcels have meant to you.

Submit an item

If you have an item you would like to donate to the museum, please fill in this short form to submit it for consideration

Submit an Item

 

As the museum is currently closed, we are not collecting items right now, but would like to receive submissions so that we can review and collect when we are back in the museum. We want to make sure that items aren’t thrown away before we can collect them!

FAQs

We will take a sample of what is offered. One item can tell many stories, and we have limited space, so we will be in touch when we are able to receive items that we would like to collect.

Items will not go on display immediately and some may never be displayed. We want to present a layered view of the post during the pandemic and this won’t be possible to do for some time.

Collections Development Policy

The Postal Museum is aware of and sensitive to the challenges and issues regarding collecting during a global health crisis. We are committed to an approach that is considered, respectful and ethical and are aware of our duty of care in undertaking this work.

We have already begun collecting some objects and have so far secured postmarks issued during lockdown, including the Captain Tom birthday postmark, government issued updates sent to UK residents by post and a copy of Vogue which profiled key workers, including a Royal Mail employee. As well as our independent collecting, we hold the archives of Royal Mail Group and Post Office Limited, so we will collect materials produced by both organisations, documenting how they reacted to COVID-19.

What we have not begun collecting yet, but will seek to in the future, are the personal stories of postal workers. Whilst the pandemic is ongoing, we will not begin to gather these accounts, but will do so when we can both safely and sensitively.

For more information about The Postal Museum’s collecting processes, our Collections Development Policy

Permissions and Copyright

If we select your submission to collect, we will share the full copyright and permission information with you, so you can ensure you are still happy to donate the item and have the correct permission to do so. Should an object be transferred to The Postal Museum’s collection, the museum becomes its legal owner. All submissions made through the online form are private and will only be seen by The Postal Museum staff.

If you are under 18, please ask for permission from your parent or guardian and ask them to complete the form on your behalf.