Exhibition: "Epidemics and Pandemics. The invisible enemy”

Showing the evolution of the great health plagues that have affected humanity

The National Science and Technology Museum of Catalonia (MNACTEC) has formally opened the exhibition "Epidemics and Pandemics. The invisible enemy”, showing how the great plagues suffered by humanity over history have evolved down to the present day, from a historical, scientific, technological and social perspective.

"Epidemics and Pandemics" explains the relationship among different living organisms, as well as the concepts of disease and health, outbreak, epidemic and pandemic. The exhibition analyses the great epidemics suffered by humanity, and specifically the experience in Catalonia, and presents the scientific and technological innovations that have allowed the world to understand microorganisms, and how diseases are transmitted and treated.

It is divided into 7 different sections, tracing the story from the origin of life and the first microorganisms, to the current pandemic situation and related scientific research: A world full of life; Disease versus health; Outbreak, epidemic and pandemic; Diseases, doctors and vaccines; Public health; Globalisation and the great pandemic of the 21st century, and At the boundaries of life.

The restored photography collection of Doctor Jaume Ferran i Clua (1851 - 1929), a part of which is held in the MNACTEC image archives, serves to explain the process of vaccine development and usage, along with the work performed by this eminent scientist, who developed the cholera vaccine.

Historic exhibits and interactive modules

The exhibition features objects from different areas that have contributed to the treatment of various epidemics, most notably: an unusual disinfection heater-cart from the early 20th century to combat the spread of epidemics; an iron lung from 1958 to treat poliomyelitis; an Egnström automatic respirator from 1960 for patients with breathing difficulties, and a replica of the Barcelona Municipal Laboratory from the early 20th century based on historic exhibits from the laboratory, and the documents and anatomical drawings of Dr Ferran.

"Epidemics and Pandemics" also features 7 interactive modules to supplement the information in the exhibition with a hands-on approach. The topics covered by the interactive materials are: the great epidemics suffered by humanity and experienced in Catalonia; how vaccines are synthesised, and the history of vaccines. There are also 3D models of a human cell, a bacterium, a bacteriophage virus and a coronavirus, as well as a microorganism culture simulator. Visitors can lastly interact with the vaccine game to learn how vaccines work.

press-clock 24 March 2021