A couple of years ago, a prophetic exhibition about pandemics was held at the Museum of London, and now they’ve put it online.

The exhibition, “Disease X: London’s next epidemic?” opened in November 2018 and marked the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu, and while looking back, also asked what would happen when the next pandemic struck.

We know the answer now, and rather sooner than we had wanted to learn it.

Using the Museum of London’s collections, research and interviews with public health experts and epidemiologists the exhibition explored if the city might be at risk from an unknown ‘Disease X’ as the World Health Organisation called it.

The revamped Disease X exhibition shares the stories, objects and words of the original display to demonstrate what the past can tell us about historical maladies, their impact on London and its people and the different methods used to fight back. Some of which include the mourning dress worn by Queen Victoria to mark the shock passing of her grandson Prince Albert Victor due to ‘Russian Flu’, a 17th-century pomander used to waft away the foul smells thought to cause diseases like the plague and a poster advertising ‘Flu-Mal’, which dubiously claimed to combat both influenza and malaria.

The online exhibition is here, and my review from the original physical display is here.


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  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks, Ian. Prophetic indeed.

    The exhibition included an interesting glass model.

    From 2004, the artist Luke Jerram – creator of the Museum of the Moon – has created a series of glass models of viruses, his “Glass Microbiology”, magnified around a million times. For example, https://www.lukejerram.com/glass/gallery/coronavirus-covid-19

    Wow. It reminds me a little of the amazing work of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.

  2. Stephen Jensen says:

    i have taken black and white and colour photos of “LOndon as a Ghost town” lOndon during the pandemic and also photos i have taken in the early hours i have good frames for these photos i cannot afford to pay thousands a week to hire a space so i would be looking at some sort of funding or a co-operative gallery or mental health exhibition

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