Nova Scotia Museum staff preserve province's first COVID-19 vaccine vial
'I think Nova Scotia saw a lot of hope with the first vaccination,' says museum director Laura Bennett
A tiny COVID-19 vaccine vial is injecting big excitement in Nova Scotia's museum world.
The bottle contained the first COVID-19 vaccine administered in Nova Scotia last Wednesday, as people across the country started receiving the first doses last week.
The glass bottle is now the property of the Nova Scotia Museum and serves as a permanent record of how the province battled the coronavirus pandemic, said museum director Laura Bennett.
"There was only going to be one first, so we knew pretty clearly that this was worth collecting," she said. "Knowing that we are able to document what is really a turning point in Nova Scotia, this fight against COVID-19, is something really exciting."
The vial will be cleaned of any potential residue from the vaccine — manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech — and will be tucked into an archival bag and kept in the collections storage facility.
It's anticipated the bottle will eventually be showcased in a display to help educate people about vaccines, and could be part of a future exhibit about pandemics or massive events that changed the planet, she said.
Museums are in the business of exhibiting rare historical artifacts such as Egyptian mummies or shoes from a child who died in the sinking of the Titanic.
But its work also happens in real time.
There's a movement within the museum world toward what's known as rapid response collecting, said Bennett.
For the provincial museum, decisions are made based on whether the item tells a Nova Scotia story, captures the public interest and is newsworthy, and has provincial significance.
It's a tricky job deciding what's worth keeping now with the hope that it will hold significance decades from now for future generations looking back.
"It's a lot of guesswork and we hope that we get it right, you know, sometimes we do have missed opportunities," she said.
The decision to collect the first COVID-19 vaccine vial, however, was an easy one, she said.
Hope. This vial contained the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administered in Nova Scotia. Today it was acquired by the Nova Scotia Museum, where it will be preserved in our collections and forever be part of our story. Accession number 2020.9.1 <a href="https://t.co/emeEjUU2YF">pic.twitter.com/emeEjUU2YF</a>—@NS_Museum
Bennett said the vial bottled up a feeling many people are craving.
"I think Nova Scotia saw a lot of hope with the first vaccination and the first administered dose, and so they're quite pleased to see that documented," she said.
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