FARGO, N.D. — NDSU students are asking the public to take a look back on a different pandemic that hit the Red River Valley.
Public history students are opening an art exhibit called “Remembering the forgotten pandemic: The 1918 to 1920 Spanish Influenza Pandemic in the Red River Valley.”
It opens Wednesday, May 12, at 7 p.m. and goes until Aug. 30 at the Hjemkomst center.
It feature diaries, letters, telegrams and newspaper accounts from the era and will show how the pandemic devastated the Red River Valley.
The public is invited, and there is no charge for admission. The exhibit is a product of NDSU’s museum studies class led by Angela Smith, associate professor of history.
Throughout the Red River Valley, it took the cooperation of schools, churches and local governments to slow the spread of the highly contagious epidemic.
Schools and universities closed, and students were quarantined. Church services were canceled, and several church basements were set up as hospitals for flu patients. Nursing students volunteered to assist other medical personnel in treating patients.
Fargo and Moorhead issued closing orders for all businesses, and the public health officer overseeing the effort urged housewives to make masks for people to wear if they had to go outside their homes.
“I think there’s no better way to end a pandemic than to come out and learn about a different pandemic. We will all be wearing masks tonight at the opening,” said Oliver Westsime, an NDSU graduate student studying Great Plains history.