Plague - A cultural history of contagious diseases in Scotland

  • Exhibition:  Plague - A cultural history of contagious diseases in Scotland
  • When:  11 December 2015 - 29 May 2016
  • Location:  National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
  • Exhibition opening hours: 
  • Admission: free
  • More information:

Plague! explores the contagious diseases afflicting people in Scotland over the past 700 years, along with society's reactions to contagion.

The National Library of Scotland's exhibition examines the plague, cholera, smallpox, and many other contagious diseases that affected Scotland over the past 700 years.

Discover how Scotland dealt with contagious diseases, through official and personal papers, religious writings, literature, press reactions and responses from folk medicine and the sciences.

  • Which contagious diseases ravaged the population? What were the symptoms, how did the diseases spread, and what treatments were available at the time?
  • How did the Scottish people react to these deadly outbreaks? And how did governments handle the spread of disease?

Visitors to the exhibition can:

  • Experience the Edinburgh of old by visiting a cramped, cobbled Edinburgh close within the exhibition
  • See a specimen of skin affected by smallpox
  • Examine a skull showing the classic signs of syphilis
  • View a jar containing the hand of a person who died of leprosy
  • Meet the Library's newest addition: a stuffed black rat
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