In this conversation with OHNY executive director Gregory Wessner, Sarah Henry, the Robert A. and Elizabeth Rohn Jeffe Chief Curator and Deputy Director of the Museum of the City of New York, discussed history.

At MCNY, Henry oversees all museum programs, including exhibitions, public programs, and publications, including the 2018 exhibition Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis. This conversation will explore the recurrent cycle of infectious disease and recovery that defines New York City’s history, and consider how past responses might shape our understanding of the current moment.


Open House New York’s Conversations on the City offers diverse perspectives on the issues defining New York’s recovery, resilience, and reopening in the aftermath of COVID-19. The series was launched at the onset of the pandemic in April 2020 amid a moment of uncertainty about the future of urban life, ultimately drawing together an audience of 10,000 over the subsequent months. Organized around a broad theme or topic, the series has a point of view: urban life brings an abiding joy. What makes cities continue to thrive, what propels them forward, is a shared need for human connection; this is what cities make possible and it will always prevail over whatever challenges may arise.