The Animal Crossing Diaries: Groundbreaking Collection Project Launches New Online Exhibition

Animal Crossing

National Videogame Museum launches a new website, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Museums Association, that collects stories of those who have played Animal Crossing: New Horizons over the 2020/21 lockdown period.

  • National Videogame Museum (NVM) launches an online exhibition of its new collection project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund run by the Museums Association.
  • The Animal Crossing Diaries explores the personal histories of those who played the game throughout the 2020/21 lockdown periods across the world.
  • The innovative online exhibition opens up new ways of collecting, archiving, and collecting videogame histories.
  • launches on Friday 3rd September.

The National Videogame Museum (NVM) is delighted to announce the launch of its new online exhibition: The Animal Crossing Diaries. This new website showcases the experiences of players of the social simulation videogame Animal Crossing: New Horizons during the 2020/21 lockdown period. These experiences and stories were collected via an online open call and have now been selectively curated and showcased on a new dedicated website.

The project was initially conceived as a response to the Covid-19 global pandemic, and an examination into the role that videogames played for their users in that period of unprecedented social isolation. This exhibition takes an innovative approach in collecting videogame history that forefront the players’ histories with the game. This opens up new ways of collecting, archiving and showcasing videogame histories, and record for the first time a highly meaningful but ephemeral and intangible experience through the perspective of its players. Through an extensive oral history initiative, the exhibition also presents a vital and innovative way to understand players’ intimate experiences with the game during this time.

Users of the online exhibition will be able to search through various players’ stories, grouped together by the themes of Keeping a Routine, Staying in Touch, Sharing Creativity, Representing Yourself and Making Your Space. These themes have been selected to encompass the broad range of experiences that players have had with the game, many of which are in direct response to the 2020 Covid-19 global pandemic. Alongside these stories, there is a timeline that showcases the events that occurred in the game over the same period – from political protests, campaigns, special events, and seasons.

“Animal Crossing Diaries collects the unique perspectives of players making a game a creative and social space of their own. This game has shaped so many people’s experiences of the pandemic across the world. In turn, project contributors have shaped this project by trusting us with powerful moments from their real and virtual lives. This initiative marks a new turning point for the NVM in focusing more on lived experiences of play. It also shows immense potential for museums to collect these experiences as a new, powerful form of social history.” – Claire Mead, Programme and Collections Manager, National Videogame Museum.

‘We’re absolutely thrilled to fund this unique work that demonstrates the importance of people’s stories in museums. With this project the NVM are documenting a moment in history through the lens of individual gameplay’ – Sarah Briggs, Collections Development Officer, Museums Association.

About the BGI and the National Videogame Museum

The NVM is run by the BGI, a registered charity number 1183530 that educates the public about the art, science, history, and technology of videogames. The NVM celebrates videogame culture and allows the public to play most of its exhibits, which include nearly 100 games consoles, arcade machines, and other interactive experiences, including games designed exclusively for the Museum. The Museum holds one of the UK’s largest collections of nearly 5,000 videogame objects, and nearly 100 exhibitions, including arcade machines, technology, game memorabilia, and ephemera. Formerly the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, the Museum has welcomed over 160,000 visitors, including hundreds of school visits, since it opened in 2016. The Museum presents a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions, some of which tour the UK.