Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World

May 18, 2018 – 2021

Image credit: NIAID

National Museum of Natural History
10th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

2nd Floor Floor Plan

Our world is more interconnected than ever before—by global travel and trade, by technology, and even by our viruses.

When people move into or change an environment, pathogens—microbes that cause illness—can “jump” from wildlife to humans and cause disease outbreaks that spread internationally. Tracking down and responding to outbreaks requires coordinated detective work from people in many professions.

Outbreak invites visitors to join epidemiologists, veterinarians, public health workers, and citizens of all ages and origins as they rush to identify and contain infectious disease outbreaks. Case studies of HIV/AIDS, Ebola virus, and influenza highlight the social and emotional fallout of outbreaks—for victims, their loved ones, and society overall. Objects from both the National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of American History collections illustrate the scientific and cultural impact of epidemics.