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Humanity versus disease showcased as London’s Science Museum reopens doors

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LONDON (Reuters) – Exhibits showcasing humanity’s battle with infectious disease will greet visitors recently emerged from coronavirus lockdowns when London’s Science Museum re-opens its doors next week after its longest closure since World War II.

“Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries” tracks medical advances through history, and its timely displays include an iron lung used for polio patients in the 1950s, an isolation trolley from the 1970s, PPE from the Ebola epidemic and statistics on the effectiveness of vaccinations.

The five galleries, which initially opened in November 2019, “are very relevant of course for the COVID-19 pandemic,” the museum’s deputy director Julia Knights told Reuters TV.

As well as cataloguing the past, the museum has also deployed its curators to collect present day items for a future display intended to look back at the challenges that science and society are facing in 2020.

“(We are) … looking at a permanent record there for many generations to come of the medical, scientific, cultural and deeply personal responses to COVID-19,” said Knights.

The deep-cleaned museum will re-open on Aug 19, and is offering free timed tickets online to a reduced number of visitors to allow for social distancing and manage footfall in London’s museum district, which also includes the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

“We are sanitising the building but not the experience,” Knights said.

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