Pandemic Perspectives: Mask Up! (Smithsonian National Museum of American History) - VIRTUAL - Montgomery Blair High School PTSA

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Pandemic Perspectives: Mask Up! (Smithsonian National Museum of American History) – VIRTUAL

January 19 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Pandemic Perspectives: Mask Up!

Join curators and historians for an engaging series of panels offering perspectives on the current pandemic. Panelists will virtually share objects from the past as a springboard to a lively discussion of how to better understand the present. Audience questions are encouraged and will be addressed in the moderated dialogue.

As early as the first century AD, Pliny the Elder argued for the use of face masks to protect people in dangerous respiratory situations. During the 1918 influenza pandemic, face masks were widely adopted, though their value was hotly contested. In 2020 the use of a protective face mask has turned into a political litmus test. Panelists during this session will examine both the historical experience of face masks and the varied current experience from production challenges to fashion statement.


Peter Liebhold, National Museum of American History

Alexandra Lord, PhD, National Museum of American History
Michelle McClellan, PhD, Bentley Library, University of Michigan

The National Museum of American History welcomes visitors of all ages and abilities. Real-time captioning (CART) will be provided for online programs. For other questions about accessibility, please email Two weeks’ notice is preferred.


National American History Museum (Smithsonian Museum)