Museum  March 9, 2021  Anna Claire Mauney

Fauci Donates 3D Model of Coronavirus to Smithsonian

Photo by Tia Dufour. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci at coronavirus update briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, April 7, 2020.

Doctor Anthony Fauci has donated his 3-D printed model of the SARS-CoV-2 virion to The Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The model, a blue ball with orange and tan protein spikes, has been Dr. Fauci’s primary visual tool over the last thirteen months.

Fauci told the New York Times he chose the model because of how often he used it and that this frequency made it meaningful and important. He’s used it to explain the virus and the pandemic to politicians, journalists, and citizens—both in person and over television broadcast.

Photo Courtesy of the National Museum of American History.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci holds his personal 3D-printed model of the SARS-CoV-2 virion during the “Great Americans Awards Program.”

Remarkably, the Smithsonian began planning a new exhibition, well before the COVID-19 outbreak, about disease and its impact throughout the history of the United States. The show, entitled In Sickness and In Health, planned to highlight outbreaks of smallpox, cholera, and yellow fever. Now, it will be incorporated into a larger exhibition that also covers COVID-19 and Fauci’s contributions to public health.

In April of last year, the museum began efforts to acquire objects related to the pandemic through its Rapid Response Collecting Task Force. The museum also launched Stories of 2020, a digital platform to collect and document the peoples' experience of the past year. 

During the museum’s live-streamed Great Americans Awards Program, Fauci said of the pandemic so far, “Decades from now, people will be talking about the experience that we went through.”

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Aerial view of the National Museum of American History, 2008.

Though Fauci has become a household name during the course of this pandemic, the eighty-year-old physician has spent decades leading the fight against infectious diseases. In 2008, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

From the AIDS epidemic to coronavirus and beyond, Fauci’s dedication to the health and safety of Americans began long before 2020 and will surely extend into the future. 

About the Author

Anna Claire Mauney

Anna Claire Mauney is the former managing editor for Art & Object. A writer and artist living in North Carolina, she is interested in illustration, the 18th-century, and viceregal South America. She is also the co-host of An Obsessive Nature, a podcast about writing and pop culture.

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