With students coming back to campus and a new normal of mandatory masks on campus, Nebraska’s Craig Chandler wanted to showcase mask-wearing in a larger-than-life way.
The plan started to take shape back in early April when Chandler, director of photography for University Communication, was working with Herbie Husker for spring commencement.
“I thought (Herbie) needed a mask like the rest of us,” Chandler said.
Chandler measured Herbie’s head and took the figures home to his wife, Carole. She used the measurements to make a custom cloth mask. The standard mask measures in at 9 inches wide by 6 inches tall. Herbie’s facial covering is — much like the legendary mascot — is larger than life at 16 inches wide and 11 inches tall.
A few months after the Chandlers helped Herbie mask up, they took on a mammoth COVID-19 fashion challenge — creating a mask for the full-sized, bronze sculpture of Archie, a Columbian mammoth, who greets visitors to the University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall.
With permission from the museum, the Chandlers took on the same tasks for the Archie mask — Craig measuring and installing, Carole sewing. They also enlisted assistance from Martin Bena, a projects leader (electrical) from Facilities Management Planning, who ran the bucket truck that allowed Craig to reach Archie’s head.
“We came out with a bucket truck so I could measure Archie’s face, made a pattern, cut some string and ended up with about five-and-a-half yards of fabric to make the mask and the nose piece,” Chandler said.
For the Chandlers, making the masks were a fun way to contribute to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s COVID-19 preparations for the return to in-person, on-campus instruction this fall. Ultimately, they hope the masks help remind students, faculty, staff and campus visitors about the importance of the facial covering policy adopted by the university.
“Keeping everyone on campus safe is a huge priority and the masks for Herbie and Archie just make mask-wearing fun and acceptable in a larger-than-life way,” Chandler said. “Hopefully everyone coming back to campus will wear their masks and contribute their part to a successful fall semester.”