Purpose: A free, customizable version of the Smithsonian exhibit Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World can help communities to raise awareness and understanding about public health issues.
Methods & Materials: Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World is an exhibition created by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) that examines zoonotic emerging infectious diseases (EIDS) and our increasing pandemic risks in the 21st century. An adaptable and customizable Do-It-Yourself version of the NMNH exhibition, Outbreak DIY, was created and made freely available in May 2018. Outbreak DIY was designed to be easily installed in any type of location, such as hospitals, libraries, train stations, coffee shops, community centers, offices, and schools. Each interested venue is provided with digital design files for 16 pre-designed Exhibit Panels that each address one topic from the NMNH exhibition, such as “One World, One Health”, “Vaccination Equals Prevention”, and “Fighting Fear”. These Exhibit Panels are available in a bilingual format that pairs American English with Arabic, Chinese (Simplified or Traditional), French, Spanish, or Thai. Venues are welcome to create additional translations and/or customize panels with two Panel Templates to serve their needs. Panels can be printed and fabricated in different sizes and materials, such as full-size posters on foam board or corrugated plastic, free-standing display banners, letter-size papers, or digital displays or projections. A multilingual selection of videos and interactive games and a variety of 3D printable models from the NMNH exhibition are also available. In addition, venues are provided with a Resource Guide that includes materials for promoting their exhibition, programming ideas for public events and activities, and suggestions and resources for training exhibition volunteers and staff.
Results: By June 2018, more than 50 venues in over 30 countries requested materials for Outbreak DIY exhibitions. Venue types include universities, museums, embassies, and libraries, and many expressed interest in customizing their exhibitions with Panel Templates.
Conclusion: Outbreak DIY is a desirable and versatile tool for community engagement with messages about EIDs and One Health. Its multilingual and customizable content have the potential to serve the global public on a scale unprecedented for a museum exhibition.
© 2018 Published by Elsevier Inc.