By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
DEARBORN – While protective face masks may someday be considered historical clothing, for the employees of The Henry Ford Period Clothing Studio, they are centuries ahead of their usual bustles and breeches.
However, that didn’t stand in the way of the superb seamstresses creating nearly 400 protective cotton face masks last week for ACCESS Community Health and Research Center, 6450 Maple St., for its drive-through testing of symptomatic first responders and medical personnel.
Anne Devlin, senior manager of the Period Clothing Studio, said their goal is to create 3,000 masks in the next month.
“The idea for this project came from the leadership of The Henry Ford, who asked the studio team if we would be able to contribute to the need for cotton masks while working from home,” she said. “They decided to donate these masks to ACCESS after their urgent request for supplies and donations went out last week.”
She said the studio uses period-correct fabric, including cotton, linen and wool, to clothe the hundreds of re-enactors who portray people in different eras of U.S. history throughout Greenfield Village, and distributed 25 bolts of washed cotton fabric, which it had on hand, to staff members to create protective face masks.
The masks were made using a design distributed by Deaconess Health System, at deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask.
While fabric masks do not meet the same protective criteria as N-95 respirators and surgical masks for people caring for COVID-19 patients, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fabric masks are a crisis response option when all other supplies have been exhausted, and they can be used in other areas of patient care when PPEs must be rationed and diverted to COVID-care workers.
Washable fabric masks were in widespread use before the advent of modern disposable masks, which are currently on extended backorder, given the current coronavirus demand.
For more information about ACCESS and its needs, go to accesscommunity.org. For more information about The Henry Ford, go to thehenryford.org.