First opened in 1910, the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. is one of the most visited museums in the world. With a collection of over 145 million specimens of rocks, minerals, fossils, plants, animals, human remains, and more, it is at the heart of efforts by natural history scientists to learn and understand more about the world around us. Leveraging these efforts, the Museum often hosts temporary exhibitions that are aimed at increasing the general education of the public.
Now open with free admission is the Outbreak exhibition. Covering an examination of disease in the modern world, the exhibition was originally planned following an Ebola outbreak, the Zika epidemic, and coincides with the centennial of the Spanish Influeza pandemic of 1918. Given the events since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this exhibition is a particularly timely one.
The temporary exhibition is 4,250 square feet of education curated by epidemionogists, public health workers, veternarians, and citizens who present information on efforts to identify and respond to a range of infectious diseases, among them Ebola, the Zika virus, HIV/AIDs and a number of others.
Exhibits include a guide on how to think like an epidemiologist in terms of finding the connections between human, animal, and environmental health through an interactive simulation. In addition, there is a multiplayer game that allows visitors to cooperate with one another to help contain a disease outbreak before it spreads too far. There is even personal reflections on the memories of those who survived diseases to those who fought against their spread on the frontlines.
Particularly interesting to many might be the weekly four-part series centered on how vaccines are produced in the world today, which draws on the expertise of research scientists, anthropologists, and federal agencies.
For more information visit: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/exhibits/outbreak-epidemics-connected-world