Outbreak: New museum exhibit explores history of pandemics

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New exhibits are opening at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, including one on the pandemic.

This exhibit is called Outbreak. Believe it or not, it was designed before COVID-19 hit.

"There is one or two sections about what’s going on today," explained Margaret Marino, the director of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. "But honestly, I think people are saturated with what’s going on today. But I think what might surprise them is how similar this has been in the past, and how important vaccination is."

Pandemics are nothing new. The exhibit covers the history of pandemics over the last few hundred years.

"The pandemic in 1919 – that historic perspective of what happened there and how it has dealt with in the United States – people had a little more different attitude about it then," Marino said. "They had a little more trust in science and things. It was sort of a renaissance of science."

The exhibit was created by the Smithsonian and Dr. Anthony Fauci is actually one of the curators.

"The whole exhibit was designed before the pandemic," Marino said. "It was all designed before then, when they were just predicting that there might be a pandemic."

Now, the exhibit aims to give a little perspective about what the world has experienced over this last year.

"I think people will be surprised by some of the topics that are in there," Marino said.

The exhibit opens Friday, June 23.