“Pandemic Perspectives: How Your Ancestors Had Fun at Home”

Since COVID-19 became a pandemic, the overuse of words like “uncertain” and “unprecedented” has been one of life’s only certain things. While there are still so many unknowns, there is also so much to learn from the pages of history books. Scientists have already turned to the past, seeking inspiration and answers from the 1918 influenza pandemic. Face masks, social distancing, and the idea of “flattening the curve” all have roots back in that outbreak. But according to the National Museum of American History, there’s also a lot we can learn from the past about having fun in quarantine. In “Pandemic Perspectives: How Your Ancestors Had Fun at Home,” you can source inspiration for your next weekend indoors. The museum’s Kenneth Cohen and Carlene Stevens, as well as independent game inventor Richard Levy, will serve as panelists, virtually sharing objects from past pandemics to offer a new perspective on the present. Arthur Daemmrich, director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution, will moderate the event. Whether you’re a history buff or just getting tired of baking bread, you’re sure to walk away fulfilled. The event begins at 4 p.m. on Oct. 6. Registration is available at si.edu. Free. —Sarah Smith

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