As COVID-19 enters 3rd year, international exhibition on pandemic inaugurated in Delhi’s National Science Centre | The Financial Express

As COVID-19 enters 3rd year, international exhibition on pandemic inaugurated in Delhi’s National Science Centre

During the event, Dr. Rajiv Bahl, the new Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as well as Secretary of the Department of Health Research, said that the exhibition shows the “triumph or humanity over COVID-19.”

As COVID-19 enters 3rd year, international exhibition on pandemic inaugurated in Delhi’s National Science Centre
(L-R) Arijit Dutta Chowdhary, Director Indian Museum, Mugdha Sinha, Joint Secretary (Museums), Ministry of Culture, Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, with Scott McDonald, Chief Executive, British Council, and Sir Ian Blatchford, Director & Chief Executive Science Museum Group along with Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja, Maharaja of Mysore. (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

National Council of Science Museums and Science Museum Group, London on Tuesday unveiled the exhibition on the global effort to develop vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exhibition inaugurated today will showcase an art installation commissioned by the British Council as part of the India/UK Together Season of Culture.

The international traveling exhibition “Vaccines Injecting Hope” was inaugurated by Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for Culture and Parliamentary Affairs at the National Science Centre, Delhi in the presence of Alex Ellis, High Commissioner, British High Commission in India, Scott McDonald, Chief Executive, British Council, Sir Ian Blatchford, Executive Director, Science Museum Group, London, A. D. Choudhury, Director General, NCSM and Mugdha Sinha, Joint Secretary (Museums), Ministry of Culture.

National Council of Science Museums and Science Museum Group, London on Tuesday unveiled the exhibition on the global effort to develop vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic. (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

This exhibition curated by NCSM and the Science Museum Group of the UK, showcased the creation of a modern-day vaccine and its many facets, with its human side.

“Our India/ UK Together Season of Culture demonstrates our commitment to emerging India and UK artists, enabling them to connect and create engaging work. This ground-breaking exhibition provides a brilliant artistic interpretation of how India and the UK addressed one of our greatest collective challenges – the pandemic – through the vaccine partnership. My congratulations go to the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), the Science Museum Group in London, and the artists for their dynamic collaboration,” Scott McDonald, Chief Executive, British Council, said during the event.

Type of vaccines displayed at the exhibition. (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

From the first COVID-19 samples and various types of vaccines to the equipment and devices developed over time, the exhibition presented the journey of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.

Exhibit on how COVID-19 affects the body. (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

The exhibition has sections on ‘The Arrival of New Virus’, ‘Designing a New Vaccine’, ‘Trials, Results and Approvals’, ‘Scaling Up and Mass Production’, ‘Vaccine Rollout’, ‘Living with COVID’ and it also presented the documentation of the global effort to find new ways to develop vaccines at pandemic speed and look at vaccinations more broadly with a historical and contemporary view.

Evolution of masks from various pandemics witnessed by the world. (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

Moreover, the exhibition also showcased various installations to show the scientific principles underlying a vaccine’s creation and efficacy while capturing the behind-the-scenes work that accompanies their rapid development, production, transport, and delivery.

Representation of various viruses prevalent among humans (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

Meanwhile, the exhibition showcases ‘Through the Lens’, an artwork commissioned by British Council and created through the collaboration between an Indian sculptor based in Delhi, Sushank Kumar, and a playwright in London, Nigel Townsend.

The exhibition has been developed by the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) in collaboration with Science Museum, London and with support from Wellcome, UK, ICMR, India, NIV, Pune, Serum Institute of India, CSIR, AIIMS, NIBMG, Kalyani and various other research and scientific organisation.

The exhibition also showcased presentations like how the first samples were transported, bioreactors, vials of used vaccine doses, and testimonies of participants of clinical trials.

“…we have an expert panel of scientists in London and we think of future exhibition topics and we decided that we will do an exhibition on the vaccines…but we decided right from the beginning that we will do this as a collaborative initiative with our partners in India as the country had a special role in vaccines. We started working on the vaccine exhibition in the middle of the pandemic…even when doctors were saving lives in the hospitals…we were talking to doctors, scientists and researchers and we wanted to make sure that the story is captured,” Sir Ian Blatchford, Executive Director, Science Museum Group, London told Financial Express.com.

Testimonies of various participants of the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

He also said that all the stakeholders including doctors, scientists, and healthcare experts wanted to share their insights.

“We thought that they won’t talk to us as they were too busy but the opposite happened as they knew that we are in the middle of history, the middle of a terrible crisis and this is an incredible moment…so a month it (pandemic) started, we started collecting and they about six months into COVID pandemic we started working on the exhibition,” he said.

According to the organisers, they collaborated on this exhibition comes after the success of the exhibition ‘Superbugs: The End of Antibiotics?’

“Due to Corona pandemic, it will be very much relevant in India. This time we have added one Mobile Science Exhibition (MSE) Bus to travel to the nearby areas of each location. The MSE Bus will mainly communicate the messages of the exhibition in rural areas. At the same time, I hope, the project will further strengthen the bond between the two leading Science Museums network in India & UK.” Arijit Dutta Choudhury, Director General of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), India, said.

Exhibit on sample collection and transportation. (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

During the event, Dr. Rajiv Bahl, the new Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as well as Secretary of the Department of Health Research, said that the exhibition shows the “triumph or humanity over COVID-19.”

“…just knowing the science isn’t enough, taking it to the people is also important,” Bahl said while addressing the crowd.

The exhibition will be on display at Raman Science Centre and Planetarium, Nagpur (August 5, 2023-December 31, 2023), Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai (February 10, 2024-July 28, 2024), Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bengaluru (September 7, 2024-February 28, 2025) and Science City, Kolkata (April 12, 2025-September 30, 2025), and is expected to reach out to more than 2 million people, the organisers said.

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First published on: 15-11-2022 at 21:54 IST