COVID in the Collections

by DAPP Tours

For millennia the visual arts have helped humans to better understand, communicate about, and respond to diseases and their impact on society, from healing sutras and medical treatises to depictions of medieval saints believed to cure the plague. This selection of objects from the Harvard Art Museums' collections was compiled as a resource for faculty across disciplines who will be teaching courses inspired by or related to the current COVID-19 crisis. Spanning cultures and time periods, this broad range of material can help enhance understanding of the history, science, and responses to pandemics and disease over time. Topics include: infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, malaria, plague, polio, cholera, smallpox, syphilis, tuberculosis, etc.); epidemiology; medicine, healing, cures; quarantine; public health initiatives and awareness; mourning and memorials.