The David J. Sencer CDC Museum will feature changing exhibits over the coming years to supplement our permanent installations. New changing exhibits are in the works, so please check back with us.
The World Unseen: Intersections of Art and Science
May 20 – August 30, 2019
This exhibition gathers the work of ten international artists who draw upon microbiology, biotechnology, anatomy, and texts in their investigations of microbes and cells, DNA, history of disease and science, the body, and beauty. They all share a deep interest in science, and some are scientists themselves or collaborate closely with researchers. Some mine the images of the unseen world to comment about the debates that swarm around the intersection of disease and ethics—past, present, and future. Others are drawn to the abstract beauty of what is sub-visible—real and imagined.
One hundred years ago, influenza swept the globe quickly, infecting an estimated 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population. Entire communities were devastated here in the United States and about 675,000 Americans lost their lives. The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe in recent history, killing more than 50 million people worldwide. It was the first major disease to be extensively documented through photography.
This exhibition focuses on historic American images—accompanied by their original captions—depicting military personnel, medical staff, Red Cross workers, and civilians impacted by influenza. The images reflect the commitment of doctors, nurses, and volunteers to the cause, a spirit of patriotism, and at times the sense of humor needed when facing such a devastating disease.
The Story of CDC traces the origins and early history of CDC through its expansion into an agency of public health programs emphasizing prevention. The story is told through documents, photographs and objects from the CDC Collection. Highlights include an early 20th century quarantine sign, a wooden intelligence test, Dr. Joseph Mountin’s microscope, an iron lung, QUAC sticks used during the Biafra famine, a ped-o-jet used in the campaign to eradicate smallpox, and many more fascinating items and stories.
The Messengers sculpture is a large-scale serpentine stone sculpture by renowned artist Lameck Bonjisi of Zimbabwe, who died of AIDS in 2003. The Messengers is an example of Shona sculpture, reflecting traditional and contemporary Zimbabwean culture. The intention of the artist was to honor his ancestors and to represent the strength of families. CDC has chosen the work as a symbol of this facility’s mission – to educate all who visit about the interplay of public health, culture, and community.
Global Symphony is an unparalleled multi-media installation highlighting the world of CDC and public health. Spanning 100 feet in length, the Global Symphony is more than just pleasing to the eye. Public health messages are communicated through intriguing narratives alternated with visual vignettes. The installation serves as an introduction to CDC and public health for all visitors.
Currently, the Global Symphony features 4, three–minute stories that describe in depth CDC’s contributions to the elimination of polio, the investigation of Legionnaire’s disease, the battle to stem the rise of obesity in the United States, and the study of how humans, animals, and the environment interact in the spread of Ebola. The stories are complemented by a wide range of media pieces on public health topics – from HIV/AIDS to worker safety.