Curators at the Durham Museum spend much of their shifts sporting gloves while handling the museum’s artifacts.

And the exhibit builders don masks while they sand, woodwork and assemble pieces.

But with the museum’s doors shut due to the coronavirus outbreak, the curatorial staff decided to make use of the spare nitrile gloves and N95 masks.

They donated 10 boxes of gloves, varying in size, and more than 50 unopened masks to the Nebraska Medical Center, said Jessica Brummer, director of communications.

“Even though it didn’t seem like a lot, any little thing we can do to help where the greatest need is,” Brummer said. “It was a nice opportunity for us to be able to give back.”

The Durham’s curatorial team noticed other museums across the country donating spare supplies to hospital staff on the front lines. So they scrounged up their unopened supplies and donated them on March 27.

Museum staff also made a video to thank medical workers to coincide with National Doctors Day.

The museum’s curatorial staff — the only staff members working in the building right now — are able to use cotton gloves while handling museum collections. On occasion they wear masks if handling an old or dusty item, but most of the donated masks came from the exhibit team.

The Joslyn Art Museum offered some of its supplies to a local medical provider should they need masks and gloves when supplies get low, a spokeswoman said.

Brummer, with the Durham Museum, said she’s proud of the curatorial staff for taking the initiative to donate their supplies to the people who are in the most need.

“I don’t think ever in our wildest dreams did we think that those basic supplies could really mean something and help somebody out,” Brummer said. “We hope that other organizations and museums will maybe see what we did and think about the stuff they might have around that they could give up and help a little bit, too.”

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