Parasites: A Battle for Survival

Creating an exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland 

One of our biggest public engagement projects has been a collaboration with the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research and the Infectious Diseases Group at the University of Edinburgh, to produce an exhibition on parasites at the National Museum of Scotland (NMS) in Edinburgh. The exhibition, Parasites: a Battle for Survival opened on December 6, 2019 and while it was due to run until April 19, 2020, it closed a month early because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The exhibition focused on parasitology research carried out in Scotland at the three centres. Visitors to the exhibition learned how diseases are transmitted and how parasites can adapt to fight back against available treatments and other methods of control. They were able to gain an insight into the discovery of these diseases and explore how a modern laboratory works. Researchers from the centres were individually featured and Professor Annette MacLeod the featured scientist from the WCIP. The exhibition took place in the museum’s second largest exhibition space and we had nearly 40,000 visitors from all over the world. 

Boy and girl visiting the exhibition.   View inside exhibition.

The exhibition was aimed at secondary school children to support parasitology and infection biology on the Curriculum for Excellence. We also developed an educational programme with NMS team that ran in parallel. To ensure that the content of the exhibition was relevant and in an appealing format to this age-group, we worked with two secondary schools to co-create the content, Castlebrae School in Edinburgh and Hillhead School in Glasgow.  

More information and some of the educational materials can be found here.