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Spit Spreads Death

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918–19 in Philadelphia - Lecturer: Robert D. Hicks

Wednesday, March 04, 2020 |
6:00PM - 7:00PM ET

This is a virtual event.
nurse in mask


Virtual Event - Harrison Auditorium - Penn Museum


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What happens when disease strikes a city of two million people, sickening half a million and killing more than 12,000 in just six weeks and 16,000 in two months? During fall 1918, in the last months of World War I, Philadelphia hosted the largest parade in its history. Within days, influenza casualties overwhelmed hospitals. In this illustrated presentation, Robert D. Hicks, Director of the Mütter Museum, discusses the pandemic as a social catastrophe and considers its memorialization today. He shares highlights of the museum’s most ambitious exhibition to date, Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadelphia, that opens during this for five years. Several relevant artifacts from the Mütter Museum will be on display at the lecture.

NEW! Come early to join Lizzie Oakley, Penn Ph.D. candidate, for a pre-lecture Daily Dig object talk at 4:30pm that will highlight Health in Human History, with no registration required. Please note that this talk features human remains. And before each of the Greats Lectures, the Museum Café will serve delicious, daily-prepared hot entrees, soup, and sandwiches. Arrive in the late afternoon to enjoy all the Museum has to offer!


Robert D. Hicks, Ph.D., Senior Consulting Scholar, Director, Mütter Museum/Historical Medical Library, William Maul Measey Chair for the History of Medicine of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

$10 General Admission | $7 Member

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