Smithsonian Begins Collecting Exhibits For Its COVID-19 Collection

Friday, March 12th 2021, 1:07 pm
By: CBS News


When the pandemic is behind us and is a chapter in the history books, we'll have a place to visit some of the key moments that marked this past year.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., has started a COVID-19 collection.

It includes the Pfizer vaccine vial used for critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay. She was the first American vaccinated against the coronavirus, a turning point that would go down in history.

"I hope this marks the beginning to the end of a very painful time," Lindsay said at the time.

Northwell Health in New York donated Lindsay's vaccination materials and scrubs, marking the beginning of the growing COVID-19 collection.

"We want to make sure that we're documenting the story from multiple perspectives, patients, practitioners, scientists, politicians, teachers, all sorts of individuals for whom the pandemic has had a very direct and immediate impact on their lives," said Alexandra Lord, the Medicine and Science curator at the National Museum of American History.

Lord said the Smithsonian even put out a call to the public, soliciting ideas and photos.

So far, they've collected more than 600 images through the “Stories of 2020” digital storytelling initiative, documenting both the heartache and the resilience of Americans.

Lord said this collection will help ensure the impact of the pandemic is not forgotten, nor the advances in medicine, which are starting to pull the nation back from the most significant public health crisis in a century.

The museum is still closed to the public, but eventually, the vaccine artifacts will be part of a broader exhibit called "In Sickness and in Health." The exhibit will explore America's efforts to contain, control, and cure illnesses.

The Smithsonian is still collecting images from the past year for its “Stories of 2020”. Click here for more information.