The British Library launches 'digital time capsule' for children to reflect on lockdown

Tyrone Stewart

The British Library has teamed up with Storychest, a digital scrapbook app, to build a digital time capsule chronicling the experiences of children during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

Children between the ages of three and 17 will reflect on their experiences on the dedicated Children of Lockdown website, which will be archived as part of the British Library’s UK Web Archive.

“The British Library will be including ‘Children of Lockdown’ in its collection on Covid-19, as part of the UK Web Archive,” said Ian Cooke, Lead Curator for the British Library Web Archives. “This collection covers medical, healthcare, policy and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of this, we are preserving a record of personal responses and accounts of life during Coronavirus, through communications made public online and preserved in the UK Web Archive. ‘Children of Lockdown’ will be an important part of this collection, showing first-hand accounts of how lockdown impacted a generation, through a range of creative and written responses.”

As part of the campaign, Charlotte McMillan, founder of Storychest, is calling on schools and parents to encourage children to share their lockdown experiences, so that their future children, and others, can see what life was like during lockdown.

“It started as a personal project that I asked my three boys to do; they have witnessed a fundamental moment in history, when everything that was predictable about our lives was suspended – the ability to come and go as we please, to see friends and family, to go to school… My friends also got involved and I thought how great would this be if we could extend the idea to all children across the UK, for their reflections to be captured in one place,” said McMillan.

“This could be a fun and meaningful project that teachers could use to mark the end of a strange school term, or parents could do with their children during the holidays as we are cautiously moving into the next stage of normality.”

Poems, stories, and pictures can be submitted to the Children of Lockdown digital time capsule up until 7pm BST on 26 July 2020, with winners announced on Storychest’s Facebook page and website on 17 August 2020.