The virulence of COVID-19 has made the mask literally the face of the pandemic. In response, museums all over the world have been collecting masks and other pandemic-related apparel, showing them in virtual and actual exhibits.
Perhaps the most ambitious is the globe-ranging online exhibition, Clothing the Pandemic, produced by the International Council of Museums’ (ICOM) Costume Committee. The committee includes museum professionals associated with the fashion arts.
Lead curators Fahmida Suleman, Sarah Fee, and Alexandra Palmer of the Royal Ontario Museum reached out to 15 institutions to virtually ‘borrow’ and show masks from around the world. “They’re just masks, one singular, small object that before the pandemic was part of the uniform worn by health professionals,” says Palmer. “Now