Photographic Moment

Saying Goodbye to a Statue

devon valera wearing a mask is holding a white statue of a child

CREDIT: MICHELE LYONS, OFFICE OF NIH HISTORY

The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum (ONHM) recently about 3,700 objects in its collection from a storage facility in Rockville, Maryland, to a new one in Gaithersburg. The office’s curatorial intern, Devon Valera, is holding a “deaccessioned” statue that no longer fits in the museum’s collection scope. The not-quite life-size sculpture depicts a child who was the recipient of the first-ever gene therapy on September 14, 1990, at the NIH Clinical Center. The girl had adenosine deaminase deficiency, which left her defenseless against infections. The gene therapy worked. The statue was a prop in a 1996 exhibit at the National Museum of American History and never formally adopted into the Stetten Museum’s collection.