While many of us are hunkering down at home, healthcare professionals are some of the essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a gesture of appreciation to their efforts, several art institutions have been saluting doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers by sharing medical-themed artworks from their collections under the hashtag #MuseumsThankHealthHeroes.
The campaign was organized by Mara Kurlandsky and Adrienne Poon at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. The museum shared Mary Ellen Mark’s photograph “Nurses Working, Guizhou Provincial People’s Hospital, Guiyang, China” (2012) on Twitter yesterday, April 1, with the words: “Thank you to all the healthcare workers and frontline staff who are working 24/7 to keep us healthy and safe during this difficult time.”
The Whitney Museum followed with Edward Hopper’s 1900 “Study of a Nurse and Child Walking in the Park”, adding, “Today we join the museum community to thank the healthcare workers, caretakers, hospital maintenance workers, and all who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Today we join the museum community to thank the healthcare workers, caretakers, hospital maintenance workers, and all who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. We’re sharing this #EdwardHopper drawing of a nurse and child in the park for #MuseumsThankHealthHeroes today. pic.twitter.com/aQGV0fqKGK
— Whitney Museum (@whitneymuseum) April 1, 2020
Today #MuseumsThankHealthHeroes for everything they do! In “Country Doctor” (~1933–1939), also known as “Night Call,” a country doctor leads his horse & covered cart, presumably to tend to a patient. Pippin’s painting quietly celebrates the dauntless and gallant doctor, as do we. pic.twitter.com/KC0kPBpdwq
— Museum of Fine Arts (@mfaboston) April 1, 2020
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta joined the campaign with Doris Derby’s 1968 photograph “Nurse and Doctor, Health Clinic in the Mississippi Delta.” Derby, who is based in Atlanta, is is an educator, anthropologist, and photojournalist. At the time she took this photograph, she was active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and the Adult Literacy Project.
#MuseumsThankHealthHeroes–We’re joining the initiative to show gratitude to the brave healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic. Thank you for all you are doing to keep us safe & healthy!
Doris Derby, “Nurse and Doctor, Health Clinic in the Mississippi Delta,” 1968 pic.twitter.com/I73xax2GbE
— High Museum of Art (@HighMuseumofArt) April 1, 2020
To the doctors, nurses, & medical personnel, we cannot thank you enough for your hard work, but we will try. #MuseumsThankHealthHeroes // An undated photo of a dr. examining a girl. CHM, ICHi-026150. Nurse Florence Watson treats Lovie Bernard, Chicago, 1970. ST-19030953-0005, CHM pic.twitter.com/fDbjlW25DG
— ChicagoHistoryMuseum (@ChicagoMuseum) April 1, 2020
Alongside a number of other photographic tributes to nurses and doctors, some institutions honored healthcare workers professionals with exhibits of medical equipment and uniforms. For example, the Canadian Museum of History shared an image of a nurse’s hatpin from its Canadian Nursing History Collection. The First Corps of Cadets Museum in Boston posted an image of a 19th-century surgeon’s kit and the Museum at FIT, a fashion museum in New York, shared nurse uniform from the same period.
Nurses are essential healthcare workers, especially in times of war and sickness. The distinctive uniform – cap and starch white collar, cuffs, and smock – was developed during the mid-19th century.
American Red Cross nurse uniforms, c.1918 and 1941-45 pic.twitter.com/EVNP5Hg1ct
— Museum at FIT (@museumatFIT) April 1, 2020
We’re joining the #MuseumsThankHealthHeroes initiative in expressing our deepest gratitude to the healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19.
Pictured: Albert Gleizes, “Portrait of a Military Doctor” (1914-15); © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. pic.twitter.com/t1zuMt9U09
— Guggenheim Museum (@Guggenheim) April 1, 2020
More abstractly, the Guggenheim Museum shared Albert Gleizes’s “Portrait of a Military Doctor” (1914-15) and the Albright-Knox Gallery posted Georges Seurat’s monochromic crayon painting “La nourrice (Nurse)” (1884–85).
The list goes on with more museums from across the globe seizing on this opportunity to pay tribute to the heroes of the day.
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