The Smithsonian museum needs your assistance to document the history of the coronavirus

Smithsonian museum of American history
Photo via m01229/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

While the Smithsonian museums in Washington are closed due to the current coronavirus outbreak, curators are scouring the nation for artifacts to document the pandemic for a new display.

The National Museum of American History recently formed a task force to document scientific and medical current events and the effects the pandemic is having on society. Curators are sourcing objects, photos, and documents for a permanent collection. 

The museum is collaborating with other Smithsonian museums like the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Anacostia Community Museum. The collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture will be particularly significant, as COVID-19 disproportionately affects African-Americans and other people of color.

The museum is also working with the U.S. Public Health Service to determine items of significance, such as personal protection equipment.

The collection initially will be exclusively digital, as a COVID-19 precaution. Curators will start adding to the collection during the next few weeks but have not yet set a date to start displaying items in person. 

Curators are taking suggestions via email, and you can suggest items of importance by sending a message to [email protected].

Sources: USA Today, NPR

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