In response to climbing COVID rates, federal monuments will be wearing “face masks” to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Biden Administration has urged governors and mayors to implement mask mandates nationwide, however, adoption has been inconsistent and infection rates are climbing.
Mask wearing has become a political, rather than health issue, in the United States. In a recent Washington Post article, Dr. Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, who teaches U.S. and women’s and gender history at Case Western Reserve University, noted that “masks have become the most visible sign of our current political, cultural and social moment. …It’s now the latest chapter in the culture wars over our identity as a nation, our fundamental values and our rights as citizens.”
As part of the U. S. Department of the Interior’s “Meeting the Moment” campaign, the National Park Service will install “face masks” on monuments at national parks on April 1 to promote healthy behaviors that reduce spread during the pandemic. “Our monuments feature some of America’s greatest heroes and if they’re wearing face masks, it will further encourage participation by our citizens,” said Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, chief of public affairs. “European museums have been incredibly successful in turning selfie-worthy artworks into public health campaigns. Our National Parks will have a bigger impact because our monuments are bigger. And of course the presidents at Mount Rushmore should wear face masks—look how close they are to each other!”
Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and the Lincoln Memorial will be among the most visible monuments to wear face masks, however, the campaign will include lesser known statues such as Baron Von Steuben at Valley Forge National Historical Park and Ansel Adams at the National Garden of American Heroes. The goal is to include at least one monument in every National Park, which will be challenging. The Pony Express National Historic Trail only has a statue of a galloping horse at its visitor center in St. Joseph, Missouri. “I know horses aren’t wearing face masks during COVID, but that’s the only option we have,” said executive director Cindy Daffron. “It may look foolish, but it creates the kind of Instagram moment that the public wants.”
Curated nutrition bars are turning out to be an effective way to interpret collections and earn income for museums and historic sites across the country. First introduced by the Friends of Gettysburg National Battlefield for the July 2015 re-enactment, the “Blue & Gray Battle Bar” drew inspiration from the historic Civil War battle. “We knew the kinds of foods soldiers were eating so it was just a matter of coming up with a combination that tasted good and was good for you,” said curator John Rupp, “Hard tack, peas, and coffee had to be in there, of course, but we had to work with food scientists to figure out how to include salt pork. Quinoa wasn’t my idea, but someone said we had to include it for marketing purposes.” Fortunately, the curators were also able to have some fun and included minie balls, which also resolves a major deaccessioning challenge because of the thousands that fill their collection.
Other museums and historic sites heard about the success of this venture, especially after it was featured in the fall issue of Museum Business. Currently under development are:
Big Met Bar: It’s so big, you’ll be full before you’re even halfway through.
Smithsonian Behring Bar: a sprinkling of stars from a spangled banner, dinosaurs, pandas, air, space, and some wonder. So many flavors you can’t tell what you’re eating.
Colonial Williamsburg’s Christiana Campbell Bar: crab, salet, and corn pudding dipped in heritage chocolate (with zombies!). It’ll be about 4 inches high and equally thick.
If you know of a museum or historic site that’s developing a Curated bar, please share it in the comments below!
In an exclusive partnership with Engaging Places LLC, Amazon.com has introduced a “Dash Button” for historic sites and house museums. Dash Button is a simple one-touch button that can be placed in your kitchen, bath, and laundry where you store your favorite products. When you’re running low, simply press the Dash Button and Amazon delivers your household favorites to you so you can skip a last-minute trip to the store.
This innovative technology can be used for a variety of services, not just products, and Amazon and Engaging Places is launching Dash Button specifically for house museums and historic sites. In the last year, the Dash Button has been field-tested with Continue reading →