The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford

The Reach seeks submissions related to COVID-19 pandemic

Journals, photos and objects will be preserved at Abbotsford gallery

The Reach Gallery Museum is asking for the public to submit stories, photos and objects that document how Abbotsford is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gallery wants to know: How has your life been affected by COVID-19? Have you been keeping a journal or taking photos during the pandemic? What new skills have you developed in response? What do you think is most important to collect and remember from this historic period?

The stories and material culture collected will “create a legacy of knowledge for the future when we look back at this moment in history,” they say.

The Reach collections preserve the community’s collective history that includes personal recollections and stories, photographs and objects.

Already in The Reach archival collection are the journals of longtime Abbotsford resident Margaret Hutchinson, who recorded her memories of the Spanish Flu of 1918.

Hutchinson’s friend, Phyllis Hill-Tout, succumbed to the Spanish Flu in October 1918, and her memories of the day of the funeral invoke a sense of the loss felt by so many during the pandemic.

“Phyllis Hill-Tout took ill when going to college in Vancouver and came home ill. She died and I was asked to be a pallbearer. I was working in the Royal Bank at that time and Mr. Hill, the Manager, allowed me to go the Hill-Tout home,” her journal states.

“The service was in their big living room. We four girls sat looking down at our friend in her open casket. It was pouring outside. No hearse could be managed so Mr. Parton offered his little pickup truck. We had a long, muddy road to go to the cemetery and we girls traveled in a car right behind the coffin. It was pouring while we stood at the grave.”

Those who have suggestions or material that can be documented about the current pandemic are asked to contact Kris Foulds, curator of historical collections, at

RELATED: The Reach Gallery in Abbotsford offers virtual exhibits and learning activities

RELATED: Booklet offers self-guided driving tour of Abbotsford public art

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Phyllis Hill-Tout died in the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Her story is among those saved in the collections of The Reach Gallery, which is now asking for public submissions about the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of The Reach, P711)

Just Posted

Abbotsford International Airshow opening 50-year-old time capsule

Bronze time capsule was put together to commemorate AIA as Canada’s National Airshow

Rainfall records fell in deluge Saturday across the Fraser Valley

The steady rain broke the May 30 record in Chilliwack for rain with one day total of 31.7 mm

Abbotsford’s UFV gym now without a sponsor

Partnership with Envision Financial ends, school seeking new organizations to partner with

Road washout affecting section of Highway No. 3 near Manning Park

Road maintenance crews are on the scene, with an almost two kilometre long stretch impacted

CBC Bearcats hire Rebecca Garner as women’s volleyball head coach

Abbotsford-based team hires former Bearcat, Briercrest star to lead program

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools reopen Monday

A common model will see other teachers work four days a week in class then the fifth remotely,

Human Rights Tribunal denies church’s request to toss out White Rock Pride Society’s complaint

Star of the Sea and White Rock Pride Society to go to Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Most Read