by Jill Dunne
As Mr. Rogers encouraged, I am one of the many who tend to “look for the helpers” in times of crisis. Recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cincinnati Art Museum has had a few small opportunities to become one of the helpers.
This week, the museum donated its entire supply of gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to the true heroes: frontline medical professionals.
Museum employees rounded up 1,700 pairs of gloves and 160 face masks to provide to Mercy Health hospitals. The gloves are typically used for handling artworks that are being preserved, repaired or moved by conservation and installation employees at the museum. The masks were here for the conservation professionals who occasionally use chemicals during their efforts to preserve artwork, and thus cultural heritage, for generations to come.
For many years, the Mercy Health Foundation has been a strong museum supporter. As many hospitals face critical equipment shortages, we are proud to be one of the many museums across the country who are sharing their protective inventories so medical staff have the equipment they need.
Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus gave a shout-out to CAM and the Cincinnati Museum Center at a press conference on March 27. She lauded the helpers, saying, "Very generous folks in this community are stepping up." In addition, WVXU.org and Yahoo! Lifestyle shared CAM’s efforts in news stories.
The museum made another gesture of help by donating all of the fresh produce from the museum’s temporarily closed Terrace Café to LaSoupe, an organization that transforms perishable food into delicious and nutritious meals. In addition, Museum Chef Yajan Upadhyaya has volunteered his time and expertise to help those who need it most.
I am also honored to be among a group of learning & interpretation and marketing & communication professionals who are working hard to ensure that although our doors are closed, that we are providing resources like contests, digital content and a chance for engagement through social media.
“Our museum is proving to be an agile and creative community problem solver in ways that we never anticipated,” said Cameron Kitchin, the museum’s Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director. “I am encouraged by each CAM story of working to make a difference.”
I hope these positive stories warm your art-loving heart and leave you feeling like you’re wearing your favorite cozy sweater!