So much of the experience of the pandemic has involved the strange becoming familiar. Unusual words and phrases—from “social distancing” to “Zooming”—have become second nature. New practices—like shopping in a mask or scanning a QR code to read a restaurant menu—have become habitual. And so it has been, too, with material objects—many things that initially stood out have since faded into a blurry background.
But what becomes familiar does not necessarily stay familiar. In fact, it does not necessarily stay at all—unless there is someone to keep it around. It is with this in mind that students gathered the artifacts exhibited below, each of which in their own way give insights into the peculiarities of life at Merrimack during the pandemic. The students’ task was to gather what was likely to be lost over time–whether it be the objects themselves or their pandemic-era contexts.