A museum in Leiden has finally opened its exhibit on pandemics and contagious diseases through the ages, an opening ironically postponed by the current pandemic.
Amito Haarhuis, director of the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, told reporters that the timing of the exhibit was a coincidence, but only barely: “We had already thought that we wanted to warn for a new unknown disease. Nobody knows where it will break out or when, but we do know, we’ve learned that from history, that there will always be a new disease. And we wanted to warn for that and then suddenly we don’t need it. We didn’t need to warn anymore because there was an outbreak.”
The exhibit, titled "Contagious," has been updated to include the current pandemic, and comes complete with social distance markers on the floor. Exhibits range from the elaborate plague costumes of medieval doctors, with long face covers holding aromatic spices to dispel disease to the tools of modern disease-fighting.