Welcome to the Museum of 2020

Date: 28 January 2021


  • The Young Foundation launches virtual Museum of 2020 exhibition featuring crowdsourced artefacts
  • Deserving objects were contributed by the British public; objects that summed up their experiences of 2020 and will most remind them of 2020 in years to come
  • Exhibition explores our changing relationship with ‘stuff’ and how we come to understand our collective Covid experiences through the objects which have come to mean more to us in 2020


Thursday 28th January 2021: Charity The Young Foundation has today launched The Museum of 2020, a virtual exhibition featuring crowdsourced objects submitted by the British public.

In December last year, The Young Foundation posed the questions: What object sums up your experiences of 2020? What object will most remind you of 2020 in years to come? What ‘thing’ couldn’t you have coped without? Or has kept your spirits up? The campaign asked the public to submit a photograph of an object in response to these questions, alongside an explanation, donating their object to a virtual exhibition that explores our changing relationship with the things around us and how we come to understand our collective experiences through objects, rather than discussion.

Submissions have been grouped into ten major themes, and each given their own gallery within the virtual museum:

  1. Gallery of Nature
  2. Gallery of Hobbies and Entertainment
  3. Gallery of Pets
  4. Gallery of Technology
  5. Gallery of Footwear
  6. Gallery of Food and Drink
  7. Gallery of Work and Study
  8. Gallery of Friends and Family
  9. Gallery of Mental Health and Wellbeing
  10. Gallery of Covid Objects

Helen Goulden, CEO at The Young Foundation, comments:

 “Ask people to share a photo that sums up the year for them in any regular ‘normal’ year and I suspect we would have seen some very different images and objects. People would have posted things relating to special ‘moments’ that happened in the year – the holiday snapshot, the wedding, the new toy. But 2020 has been different. Our ‘moments’ became ‘months’ as lockdown extended over the year. Our worlds became smaller, circling round a square mile or so. While loss – of relatives, jobs or opportunity – has seeped into so many lives, we’ve been edged into appreciating the mundane and gaining comfort from things we had taken for granted.

“So it is no surprise that the Museum of 2020 yielded so many ‘every day’ things. We now have more empathy for the person who posted a picture of a pair of trainers because getting out running was now a lifeline; or the slippers, because getting out just wasn’t possible. Some of these objects have sad stories behind them, some have happy memories or make you laugh. It’s incredible the resonance you feel by reading through these submissions, by people you’ve never met before. I think people are seeking out solidarity; often needing to feel the connection with others in the face of something alien and universal.”

Enter the Museum of 2020 here.


For media enquiries: please contact Sarah Hogg, Comms Manager at The Young Foundation on sarah.hogg@youngfoundation.org or on 07940 281470.


  • A selection of downloadable images with captions are available here. Additional images are available upon request.
  • You can see the Twitter submissions by following the hashtag here.

Spokespeople: The Young Foundation’s CEO Helen Goulden is available for comment and interview opportunities.

About The Young Foundation

The Young Foundation’s mission is to develop better connected and stronger communities across the UK. We research in and with communities to increase your understanding of community life today. We offer different methods and approaches to involve communities and grow their capacity to own and lead change. We provide tools and resources to support innovation to tackle the issues people and communities care about.