Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, makers, artists, and designers around the world
have transformed face masks from essential protective devices into dynamic expressions of our
lived experiences. Masks have become iconic symbols of the pandemic, representing
humanity’s resilience, community, and unity during this global crisis. Mask-making has allowed
many to channel their creative and design energies, while also providing moments of purpose,
calm, and healing during these turbulent times. This virtual exhibition is an international
collaboration among numerous museum curators who have collected face masks for their
institutions to document the material culture of the pandemic from 2020–2021. Over 100 masks
have been curated into six major themes: Art & Intervention; Politics & Protest; Solidarity &
Communities; Body & Spirit; Innovation & Sustainability; and Fashion & Pop Culture.
Experience masks in ways you may not have imagined: as expressions of joy, heroism,
activism, cultural pride, and as symbols of hope and unity.