July 26, 2019

Pandemics from the Past: Cemeteries and Infirmities


What happens when disease strikes a city of two million people, sickening a half-million and killing more than 12,000 in just six weeks? In the fall of 1918, the last months of World War I, Philadelphia hosted the largest parade in its history. Within 72 hours, all hospitals in the city were full.  

Join Atlas Obscura for a discussion of the global flu pandemic claimed the lives of millions worldwide and its lessons for the future. Robert D. Hicks, Director of the Mütter Museum, leads this talk about the disaster that claimed more than 16,000 lives in six months, where he'll exhibit relevant artifacts from the museum collection and share highlights of the museum's most ambitious exhibition, Spit Spreads Death: the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic in Philadelphia, opening October 17. 

This engaging discussion will be hosted by the exquisite West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Incorporated in 1869, historic West Laurel Hill Cemetery is a privately-owned, non-profit, non-denominational cemetery with a 187-acre arboretum and an outdoor sculpture garden rich in cultural and social history, proudly serving the community for 150 years. West Laurel Hill not only offers one location for all your funeral and cemetery needs, but it is also an educational gem and is considered a destination for fundraising. West Laurel Hill offers event space for fundraisers, board retreats, weddings, and more. 



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The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

  • 19 S 22nd Street
  • Philadelphia, PA 19103
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  • 10am–5pm
  • We are closed on Thanksgiving, December 24, December 25 and January 1