WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – U.S. Navy museums and a Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) detachment donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to local clinics last week to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

U.S. Naval Undersea Museum, Puget Sound Navy Museum,  U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Museum, and the NHHC Detachment Boston USS Constitution Repair Facility donated a total of 260 N95 masks, 36 face shields and 70 full body Tyvek suits to Bremerton Naval Hospital, USNA Base Response Team and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston.

“Detachment Boston is a production facility, so we use masks and safety glasses every day,” said Richard Moore, detachment director. “To try and help, as the amount of PPE needed is overwhelming and the number of infected cases keeps rising, we donated to one of the major hospitals in Boston.”

Museums commonly purchase these types of PPE for staff when working with artifacts. With all Navy museums closed to the public until Apr. 24, most staff are teleworking and they decided to donate the unused equipment to where it was needed most. 

“Our hope is to ultimately save lives,” said Charles Swift, managing director of USNA museum. “Help can come from unlikely places.”

WASHINGTON (March 19, 2020) A graphic depicting tips for preventing the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)
Caption: 200319-N-NO101-0001 WASHINGTON (March 19, 2020) A graphic depicting tips for preventing the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, personal protective equipment (PPE) is used every day by healthcare personnel (HCP) to protect themselves, patients, and others when providing care from spreading potentially infectious disease and cross contamination. PPE shortages are currently posing a tremendous challenge to the U.S. healthcare system because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We realize that while our donations were not large in quantity, medical professionals locally are struggling to keep up with demand,” said Lindy Dosher, Director of U.S. Naval Undersea Museum and the Puget Sound Navy Museum. “Our desire was just to do whatever small part we could to help keep our local Navy community safe and healthy.”

NHHC, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus. 

For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit www.history.navy.mil.