FEMA Region 3 Vaccination Center Items on View on Smithsonian’s Website

Release Date Release Number
Release Date:
June 5, 2023

PHILADELPHIA - Items from a FEMA Region 3 community vaccination center established and operated in 2021 during the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been added to the permanent online collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Anyone with an internet connection can view these items in the museum’s virtual exhibit, which went live in April. All materials came from the Greenbelt Metro Community Vaccination site, which was open from April to June 2021 in Greenbelt, MD. More than 119,000 COVID-19 vaccination were administered at the center.     

“It’s such an honor to be included in the Smithsonian’s story of America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” FEMA Region3 Deputy Regional Administrator Janice Barlow said. “The dedication, the hard work, the heart that so many people brought to the pandemic mission continue to inspire me. To know that the story of the life-saving Maryland response effort has become part of the permanent collection of our country’s premier museum, is a tribute that we will always take pride in.”   

FEMA worked with several federal, state and local partners during the 2021 mission to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to the public. In Maryland, they included the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (now the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM)), the Maryland National Guard, and the Maryland Department of Health, among others.

“MDEM is proud to have partnered with FEMA throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to protect Marylanders,” said Russ Strickland, Maryland Secretary of Emergency Management. “This collection recognizes the incredible efforts of first responders, health care workers, emergency management professionals, and volunteers who worked tirelessly to combat the pandemic. Our participation in the museum highlights the critical role that vaccination centers played in bringing vaccines to underserved communities and protecting the health of Marylanders. We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase our collaborative work and to inspire future generations to serve their communities in times of crisis.”

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency Community Vaccination Center was an extraordinary example of state and federal assets focused on supporting our local communities,” said retired Maryland National Guard Brig. Gen. Adam Flasch, who was the dual-status commander for the active-duty service members supporting the vaccination site. “The whole of federal and state government came together leveraging what each does best. We were successful because we were a team focused on one outcome: delivering this life-saving vaccine to our most vulnerable populations.  It took every member of our FEMA, DoD, and Maryland Department of Emergency Management and Maryland Department of Health to deliver this exceptional outcome.”

The collaboration between FEMA and the museum began when a curator happened to visit the Greenbelt Metro center to get her own vaccination. What she saw there captured her interest, especially since the museum was already starting to plan a national collection effort centered on the COVID-19 pandemic and the various responses to it, the museum contacted FEMA Region 3 about a possible donation of materials, and the center’s team collected significant items to help tell the story of the efforts that FEMA Region 3 and our federal and state partners made to save lives and return the country to normal.

“This online exhibit highlights the contribution of the entire region during one of the most unusual life-saving missions our agency has ever undertaken,” said MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region 3 Administrator. “FEMA helps people before, during and after disasters, and we will never forget working with so many outstanding partners to serve Americans in need.”   

The artifacts, which include multilingual signs, posters, flyers, and other materials such as a challenge coin, can be accessed on the Smithsonian’s collections website. 

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