The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts (METC) opens a new exhibit on Tuesday, September 22. Cholera to COVID-19: Epidemics, Pandemics, & Disease explores America’s experience with infectious diseases.  This exhibit intends to reveal the impact disease had upon daily life, but more importantly how resilient Americans were throughout instances of widespread illness.

The emergence of COVID-19 revived interest in the history of infectious diseases. As Americans continue to incorporate social distancing, working from home, and wearing masks into their daily lives, many ask “Have we experienced this before?” or “What can we learn from the epidemics and pandemics from the past?” Infectious diseases have plagued our nation throughout its history. In the 18th and 19th centuries, smallpox, typhoid, and tuberculosis affected communities across the nation.

Throughout this exhibit, primary source documents and historic objects will highlight the resources, tools, and techniques physicians used to diagnose and treat patients. To incorporate contemporary perspectives in this exhibit, testimonies from the Share Your Story project will be featured alongside historic sources. These stories from everyday people living through the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed METC to document history as it happens. Visitors can still participate in the Share Your Story project by submitting their story to www.metc.or/share-your-story.

METC is currently open to the public by reservation only. No walk in visits are available at this time. For more information on making a reservation and METC’s safety measures please, visit