Speaker: Natasha McEnroe, Keeper of Medicine at the Science Museum, London

Curators of the history of medicine are now facing one of the greatest challenges of their careers – how to collect and preserve objects that convey the impacts of COVID-19 on science, medicine and wider society, whilst that same pandemic rages around them. But in such a rapidly changing situation, might looking back help us in going forward? The Science Museum’s galleries and stores are rich in medical history, but can examining what was, or indeed was not, collected in the past assist curators in capturing key artefacts from this present crisis? Using the world-famous Medicine collections at London’s Science Museum, Natasha McEnroe explores how both presences and absences in the museum record can shed light on the challenges and dynamics of collecting around pandemic and infectious diseases.