On March 12, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker announced that 108 cases of COVID-19 had been identified in Massachusetts. On March 15, the governor announced that all schools in the Commonwealth would be closed for three weeks, restaurant dining was suspended, and gatherings were limited to no more than 25 people. By the end of the month, the state was averaging over 800 new COVID diagnoses per day, a number that would continue to rise and would plunge Massachusetts—and the world—into a state of emergency.
On the anniversary of the beginning of this worldwide pandemic, we are all filled with myriad emotions. Unlike an anniversary that marks a finite event, this recognition of the first year of an ongoing lockdown is unique in that it is both past and present. We invite you to join us in looking back on how the Cambridge community responded to the early days of the pandemic, and to reflect on how you felt at this time last year. You can view some of the responses to our pandemic survey in the graphic below.
As a history organization, we believe in the power of remembering. In recognition of the more than 120 Cantabrigians whose lives have been lost to COVID-19, we have placed butterflies on the lawn of our headquarters at the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, 159 Brattle Street. These butterflies represent the loss of these individuals both to their families and to the broader mosaic of Cambridge history.
As we embark on our 2021 program year, “How Does Cambridge Mend?” we recognize the importance of memorialization in the mending process. At this transitional moment when we are looking both to the past and to the future, we invite you to join us in this work of remembering, sharing, mending, and moving forward together.