Clothing the Pandemic

Thursday 16 December 2021 – Tuesday 1 March 2022

Vivienne Westwood True Punk face mask. Image: Westminster Menswear Archive

Ahluwalia face mask. Image: Westminster Menswear Archive

Burberry vintage check face mask. Image: Westminster Menswear Archive

Huntsman blue herringbone face mask. Image: Westminster Menswear Archive

Louis Vuitton monogram tapestry face mask. Image: Westminster Menswear Archive

A Virtual Exhibition of COVID-19 Face Masks from Around the World  

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. 

Participating Institutions: Asian Civilisations Museum, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Budapest History Museum – Kiscell Museum, Centraal Museum Utrecht, Design Museum of Barcelona, French National Museum of Education, Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, Museo Kordilyera, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, National Museums of Scotland, National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico City, Rose Fashion and Textile Archive, Royal Ontario Museum, The British Museum, The Museum at FIT, Théodore Monod African Art Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Westminster Menswear Archive.  

www.clothingthepandemic.museum