Contemporary Collecting


The Living History Project

We're excited to be leading the county's 'living history' project which gives everyone an opportunity to contribute a recorded conversation to Hertfordshire's historical record of COVID-19.

We are in extraordinary times and future generations are likely to look back at this period to understand what it is like to live through a truly global pandemic.  We want to be able to provide a real insight into life under lockdown - and there is no better way of doing that than through the conversations of 'ordinary' people.  

If you want to submit a conversation, just follow the steps below.

  • Get in touch with someone you haven't spoken to in a while (at least since the start of the year) over FaceTime, Zoom or similar.  Don't forget to record it!
  • Have a chat about their experience of lockdown.  How has it affected them and their families, physically and emotionally; what have they learned; has it changed anything for them?
  • Submit your recording to us at Mill Green Museum where we will add it to our collection, documenting Hertfordshire's COVID experiences for future generations to experience (and we will also offer the recording to your own local museum).
  • The email to use is (please include your full name and contact details with your submission).
  • Remember, the file size is likely to be big so we recommend sending by WeTransfer or similar. Contact us if you need help doing that.

The project is part of the #HertsIsolationChallenge which aims to help people stay busy and support local businesses during self-isolation (staying at home for 10-14 days after testing positive for COVID, or being in contact with someone who has).

The #HertsIsolationChallenge is a 14-day calendar of activities supporting the county's 'Self Isolate Means Stay at Home' campaign, so make sure you post something to social media about your conversation once you've completed the activity, and don't forget to tag #HertsIsolationChallenge. Good luck!



COVID-19 Donations

We are living through extraordinary times: national lockdown, restricted movement and being apart from our loved ones. But these are also times of learning to use technology in new ways and initiating rituals like clapping for our key workers. There are many comparisons that can be made with the Second World War from rationing to communities volunteering their help to support each other. At Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service we want to ensure that this important phase in the community's history is captured for future generations; to learn from our experiences, just as we are able to learn from objects in our collection about life during the Second World War.

Part of our mission is to reflect the lives of everyone living or working in the district, regardless of their background, and record the experiences of work, leisure, home and personal life of our local community - that's you. We aim to research and collect objects and stories which reveal social and personal interactions with COVID-19. In turn, these will tell its wider and often unexpected impact on our lives, society and culture within the borough.

If you live or work in Welwyn Hatfield borough and think you can help, we'd love to hear from you.

Here are some examples of the things we are looking to collect:

  • Objects that represent how your home and/or work life has changed, or not, during lockdown. This could be rainbow drawings, diaries, school schedules, letters from neighbours, friends and relatives, photographs of how your local area has changed, or equipment you've been using to keep safe (so long as you no longer need it).
  • Documents and objects reflecting the local authority's response to the crisis such as public advice, guidance and information leaflets or objects and photographs relating to food parcels or other support you've received if shielding.
  • Mill Green Museum started milling flour again to sell to the local community to help meet a shortage of flour in supermarkets. If you've used our flour during lockdown we'd love to hear from you. Maybe you're a first-time baker, maybe you've been teaching children  or grandchildren, or tried one of our recipes. Share your experience and photographs of your bakes with us!
  • Art produced in response to lockdown.

What else would you suggest? What objects have been important to you during lockdown? The more it relates to Welwyn Hatfield, the better.


Email us with information about your potential donation at:


Tell us what it is, what it means to you, and include a photo if you can. Anyone who offers a donation to the museum service and lives or works in the borough will be asked if they would like to contribute to our oral history collection with a short interview about their experience during the COVID-19 crisis.

Oral history interviews will not be carried out until a future date when it is safe to do so. Physical collecting will only take place during the pandemic if it is essential and time-critical. The majority of items will be added to the collection once it is safe to do so. Please note that we do not guarantee to accept all offers of donations.

If you are interested in donating an object to the Musuem Service you can find out more about what we collect in our Collections Development Policy Icon for pdf here. [333.48KB] Please send any offers of donations to with a brief description of your object and a photograph if possible.

Additional Information

We intend that:

  • We will make no communication or ask for any action that will take medical practitioners, NHS workers or those involved in response efforts away from their important duties.
  • We will take no action that might involve an increase in human contact at times of recommended isolation or lockdown, such as deliveries or other movement of material or people. 
  • We will be respectful and sensitive to the fact that lives and livelihoods are at risk, both in the collecting and future display of this material.
  • We will ensure that our collecting is considered and properly documented to ensure maximum usefulness for future research and display. 
  • We will ensure that all collecting follows both Welwyn Hatfield's Collections Development Policy and the Museums Association Covid-19 Ethical Guidelines, confirming that our collecting is not duplicating the work of others donation.
  • Any donations will be regularly reviewed in line with our Collections Development Policy for their relevance, condition and duplication as part of our collections procedure and responsibility to ensure we care for all our collections to the best of our ability.
  • We will ensure that our own staff are supported in collecting and displaying this material.

Black History Month, Hidden Stories Donations

Inspired by the lives of remarkable individuals and the hidden stories of their amazing achievements, Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service needs your help to uncover the hidden stories of the black community living and working within Welwyn Hatfield so that we can better represent your lives in our collections and work.

Please get in touch with us here or on our social media to share your family's stories and objects with us.