From parade to pandemic: Museum looks at 1918’s deadly flu

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Mutter Museum, known for its collection of organs preserved in jars, deformed skeletons and wax casts of medical maladies, will have a new permanent exhibit on the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in Philadelphia.

The pandemic killed 20,000 people in the city, and a patriotic parade meant to raise money as World War I neared its end helped spread the disease.

Ahead of the exhibit’s Oct. 17 launch, the museum will present a parade Saturday along the same stretch of road where the ill-fated Liberty Loan Parade took place. A sort of moving memorial, the parade will feature about 500 members of the public, four illuminated floats and an original piece of music. The permanent exhibit, called “Spit Spreads Death ,” will open Oct. 17. It will feature interactives mapping the pandemic, artifacts, images and personal stories.

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