New Smithsonian exhibit shows what epidemics could do to Houston

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Health Museum partners with The Smithsonian Institution to bring "Outbreak, Epidemics in the Connected World" Exhibition to Houston.

Around the world, people are working to stop pandemics - sometimes before they even start. Don't miss the new exhibition, Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World, presented in conjunction with The Smithsonian Institution at The Health Museum to explore disease case studies, personal stories from epidemic-fighters around the world and interactive games challenging you to help identify or contain an outbreak.

Beginning on Saturday, October 5, 2019, visitors to The John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science in Houston will be able to take an up-close and intricate look at pandemic risks in the 21st century, zoonotic emerging infectious diseases, and get a glimpse at how three outbreaks dramatically affected the Greater Houston region since the 1920s. The exciting new traveling exhibition Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World brings to Houston for the first time a one-of-a-kind experience that uncovers answers to these common questions regarding the risks and potential rapid spread of pandemic outbreaks: Why do pathogens emerge where they do? How do they spillover from animals to people? What can individuals and communities do to prevent the next outbreak?

Created by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World will be on display at The Health Museum through May 2020. The locally-curated epidemics that will be featured in the "Close to Home" section of Outbreak include the plague in Galveston in the 1920s, Polio in the 1950s and HIV in the 1980s.

"Our global world means we are much more connected than ever, which also means the health risks and challenges we might face are also more interconnected. This exhibition is all about examining our role as global citizens in the delicate ecosystems that we inhabit," said Becky Seabrook, senior director of guest engagement at The Health Museum. "Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World offers something fascinating for guests of all ages - from school-aged children to field trip groups, and health conscience parents and adults."

A bilingual experience in English and Spanish, Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World brings to life how communities around the world actively respond to these emergency scenarios.

A mockup of a real-life pandemic response - complete with HAZMAT equipment and staging - will serve as the dramatic entrance to the very real world of life-threatening potential outbreaks. To highlight the intimately connected relationship between human, animal and environmental health, a section of the exhibition will also feature bats and the risks most commonly associated with them and other wildlife.

Almost two-thirds of emerging diseases have a non-human animal source, and almost three-quarters of these originate from wildlife such as rodents, bats, birds, and primates.

Through Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World The Health Museum will give visitors a better understanding of the ecological relationships of our rapidly-changing planet and inspire them to become informed planet-savvy citizens. Additional seasonal and educational programming will be incorporated into Outbreak during its time in Houston.

For more information about Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World please go here.