Cases of face masks in storage at InfoAge in Wall Township have been donated to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank and to first
responders in Wall Township. PHOTO COURTESY OF INFOAGE

The masks were stored for several years at the InfoAge Science and History Center in Wall Township,

Monmouth County.

InfoAge Science and History Center

By Anthony G. Attrino | NJ Advance Media for

Volunteers at one of New Jersey’s most historic museums on Thursday donated more than 1,400 N-95 face masks to a local hospital and other emergency workers to help them fight the spread of coronavirus.

“They were in the back of one of our warehouses, literally gathering dust,” said Mike Ruane, chief executive officer of InfoAge Science and History Center in Monmouth County. The masks, which had originally been ordered eight years ago for people responding to Hurricane Sandy, were uncovered days ago inside at the museum on Marconi Road in Wall Township.

The museum is the site of the former U.S. Army base Camp Evans and the Evans Signal Laboratory, where scientists in 1946 bounced the first radio signals off the moon. When Hurricane Sandy swept across the state in 2012, devastating Monmouth County, a slew of volunteer recovery workers built a headquarters for themselves on InfoAge’s sprawling grounds, which contains 11 museums and five exhibits spread out across 34 acres.

The masks were ordered for volunteers, who spent months knocking down damaged homes and repairing what they could. “The masks were needed for the workers, who went all over Monmouth County, tearing down sheetrock and helping to rebuild,” Ruane said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, a museum worker remembered the masks were stored in a warehouse on the property. “Some of the boxes were banged up and some had mildew,” Ruane said. “But on the inside, the masks were wrapped up and not compromised at all.”

The museum donated 1,000 masks to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank and another 400 to Wall Township, which was planning to distribute them to emergency workers and senior citizens. “We think it’s great that we were able to help,” Ruane said. “We are members of the Wall Township community. We enjoy being here and this is our way of giving back.”

As of Thursday, at least 742 people in New Jersey had tested positive for coronavirus. Nine people have died, including members of a family from Monmouth County.

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