NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY MARKS ONE-YEAR
ANNIVERSARY OF THE PANDEMIC WITH DISPLAY OF COVID-RELATED OBJECTS AND ART
History Responds Initiative that Preserves History as It Happens
Has Collected Hundreds of Items in the Past Year
New York, NY, March 11, 2021—The New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in New York City, marks the one-year anniversary of the pandemic in New York with installations featuring a selection of items acquired through History Responds, its ongoing initiative to collect and preserve history as it happens. Used vials of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine donated by Northwell Health as well as the ID badge and a copy of the vaccination card from the first person in the U.S. to be vaccinated—Sandra Lindsay, director of nursing for critical care at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Northwell Health—will be on display at the Museum next month.
Also on view are a nursing student’s cape from the 1950s, part of an installation in the Joel I. and Joan Picket Museum Treasures Case honoring healthcare workers past and present, and artist Tim Okamura’s 2021 painting Nurse Tracey, depicting a healthcare worker striking the familiar pose from the WWII poster, We Can Do It! The painting can be seen beginning April 2 as part of the latest rotation of works in the exhibition, Dreaming Together: New-York Historical Society and Asia Society Museum, along with Filipinx for Black Lives by Kalaya’an Mendoza, Yellow Peril Supports Black Power by Kenn Lam, and a protest sign portrait of George Floyd created by Artists for George for Juneteenth 2020 that features the tricolor of the African Union and African American flags.
While New-York Historical has collected materials reflecting contemporary events since its founding in 1804, History Responds was formally established in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, when curators began to collect items and mementos from downtown Manhattan. In the years that followed, the program has preserved objects and documents related to marriage equality, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the Women’s March, among others.
In March 2020, curators began their work to find objects, documents, and digital ephemera that recorded all aspects of life during the pandemic, and in April, the call went out to the public to share their personal stories during this unprecedented moment in history as told through objects. Since then, New-York Historical has collected hundreds of items, including a hospital receiving blanket that wrapped an infant born during the height of the pandemic, signs in multiple languages encouraging New Yorkers to wash their hands and stop the spread, diary entries from young people learning at home and isolated from their friends, protest art created during the summer’s Black Lives Matter marches, and hand-decorated paper bags designed to deliver meals and cheer homebound, elderly residents in Chinatown by the grassroots group Heart of Dinner.
New-York Historical continues to accept donations. To learn more, visit nyhistory.org/history-responds.
About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. New-York Historical is also home to the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, one of the oldest, most distinguished libraries in the nation containing more than ten million books, pamphlets, maps, newspapers, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. It is also one of only 20 in the United States qualified to be a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association.
The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024. Information: (212) 873-3400. Website: nyhistory.org. Follow the museum on social media at @nyhistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr.
Ines Aslan Marybeth Ihle
New-York Historical Society New-York Historical Society
Image credit: Tim Okamura (b. 1968), Nurse Tracey, 2021. Oil on linen; 60 x 40 in. New-York Historical Society: Purchased through the generosity of Susan and Robert Klein, 2020.33. Courtesy of the artist © Tim Okamura