Now on Display

The David J. Sencer CDC Museum presents exhibitions that reflect the work of CDC and the historic role of public health in preventing and controlling diseases. New temporary exhibits are always in the works, so please check back with us.


Permanent Exhibitions

The Story of CDC
Story of CDC exhibit

This exhibition 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.

Global Symphony
Global Symphony exhibit

Spanning 100 feet in length, this unparalleled multi-media installation highlights the world of CDC and public health. Global Symphony communicates public health messages through intriguing narratives alternated with multimedia vignettes. The installation serves as an introduction to CDC and public health for all visitors. Narrative videos describe in depth CDC’s rich history, the agency’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 Messengers
The Messengers exhibit

This large-scale serpentine stone sculpture was created 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.

Collisions exhibit

This mixed-media installation was created in 2016 by artist Amie Esslinger. Collisions was inspired by the dynamic, microscopic world. It spans 5 feet in diameter and was constructed using paper, foil, balsa wood, foam core, acrylic paint, ink, graphite, acrylic varnish, glue, false eyelashes, thread, silica pellets, mica flakes, on a wood panel.

Temporary Exhibitions

Stand & Witness: Art in the Time of COVID-19
painting of older woman wearing a mask

In many ways, artists are first responders—to repurpose a term often used in public health and emergency response. Soon after shutdowns began in March 2020, artists took to their studios, desks and Zoom to bear witness and to process the global COVID-19 experience. Throughout the pandemic, they continued to serve on the emotional frontlines of COVID-19 interpretation.

Breathing Easier: The CDC National Asthma Program
Breathing Easier: The CDC National Asthma Control Program

Impacting the health of millions of Americans, asthma is a lifelong disease that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. In the 1980s and 1990s, improved surveillance showed that asthma prevalence was higher than expected across the nation, prompting a robust federal response.