Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadelphia

Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadelphia

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 six months? 

During fall 1918, in the last months of World War 1, Philadelphia hosted the largest parade in its history. Within days, influenza casualties overwhelmed hospitals. 

Follow along as we explore, research, and develop a new centerpiece exhibition. We'll give you access to behind-the-scenes discussions, artifacts, and interviews with key curators and artists.

This project will be a unique collaboration, incorporating contemporary art with medical history, joining together an artist, an art curator, and a historical curator. The exhibition is planned for 2019, in commemoration of the centennial of the devastating medical event that plagued Philadelphia in the early 20th century, and will integrate science, history, art, and personal narratives while exploring contagion, fear of infection, compassion for fellow citizens, and the behavior of a population under extreme stress.

Latest News

August 23, 2018

September 29: Join us for a 100th anniversary commemoration   

June 22, 2018

Mütter Museum Awarded Funding for New Exhibition   

June 6, 2017

We're collecting stories - can you help us?   

May 16, 2017

VIDEO: Spit Spreads Death panel discussion: What are we planning?   

May 12, 2017

Let’s start here! Researching an interactive artwork

May 7, 2017

Join us for a FREE panel discussion to witness behind the scenes of Spit Spreads Death

May 1, 2017

The expression of cultural DNA: art, history, and storytelling

April 21, 2017

Using contemporary art to interpret a century-old epidemic

February 27, 2017

What can a bedpan tell us about a pandemic?

February 8, 2017

Pandemic Pandemonium: Interview with Museum Director Robert Hicks

January 23, 2017

Mütter Museum's 'Spit Spreads Death' unveiled on Facebook

January 23, 2017

Mütter Museum Announces Unique Collaboration and First Look at a Major New Exhibition

Support for the research and development of Spit Spreads Death has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

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.

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