This 3-D printed band was created during the Covid-19 pandemic to make wearing the strap of face masks more comfortable and donated to Mary’s Center, a federally-qualified community health center based in Washington, DC, by the family of one of the center’s medical assistants who had helped establish its respiratory clinic.

The Covid-19 pandemic emerged in the US in the winter/spring of 2020, and to prevent its spread, many people wore face coverings. The staff at Mary’s Center, like the personnel of other medical institutions, wore face masks for many hours a day and found that the straps caused chafing and discomfort, particularly around the ears. The husband of a Mary’s Center medical assistant recognized the problem and, while spending much of his time at home due to the pandemic disruptions, he innovated to create and produce bands such as this one. The band has three different degrees to allow wearers to adjust it.

Mary’s Center, a community health center in Washington, DC, was founded in 1988 by nurse Maria Gomez, who had immigrated from Colombia to the United States as a teenager in the 1960s. Gomez founded the center to serve pregnant Latina immigrants. In many cases, the women had become pregnant as a result of sexual assault during their migration journeys. Over time, the center has expanded to serve children, families, and a diverse patient population by providing health care, education, and social services. Initially housed in a basement in Adams Morgan, the center, as of 2022, has multiple locations in Washington, DC, and Maryland and serves around 65,000 patients a year. It has become a nationally recognized health center for underserved communities.

Date Made: 2020

Location: Currently not on view

Place Used: United States: District of Columbia, Washington

See more items in: Work and Industry: Philanthropy


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2021.0197.3Accession Number: 2021.0197Catalog Number: 2021.0197.3

Object Name: band

Physical Description: plastic (overall material)Measurements: overall: 3 cm x 18.3 cm x .02 cm; 1 3/16 in x 7 7/32 in x in


Record Id: nmah_2012419

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