WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts science museum has opened an exhibit on a very topical subject — vaccines.
Officials at the EcoTarium Museum of Science and Nature in Worcester hope that the exhibit that opened this week will play a part in educating visitors about the COVID-19 and other vaccines, The Telegram & Gazette reported.
“Project Vaccine: Our Best Defense " also highlights the work of those who participated in the vaccination campaign.
The exhibit includes interactive videos featuring medical professionals explaining what vaccines are, as well as one that explains the role truck drivers, nurses, community organizers and clinical administrators have had in the vaccination effort.
Another video accompanied by tactile models teaches about the five different types of vaccines — RNA, viral vector, live attenuated, inactivated and recombinant — and their uses, from the scientists who worked on them.
The Museum of Science in Boston created the exhibit and shared it with the EcoTarium. Christine Reich, the Boston museum’s chief learning officer, said her museum felt the need to educate the public during the pandemic because science museums are among the most trusted facilities in their communities.
Museum officials realized about a year ago in the early stages of COVID-19 vaccine distribution that it was the time to act and create an educational program, Reich said.
U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, who attended the opening, said he hoped the exhibit would help change the minds of the vaccine hesitant and thwart vaccine disinformation.
“There is a real public health need to address hesitancy, especially when it comes from misinformation. Unfortunately, far too many believe spreading disinformation about the vaccine will help them politically," the Democrat said.
The exhibits are in English and Spanish, which was welcomed by Dr. Matilde Castiel, Worcester’s commissioner of health and human services. The city's Black and Hispanic populations were the hardest hit by the pandemic, and those groups have the lowest vaccination rates, she said.
The exhibit, designed for third graders to adults, will be open to the public until Feb. 27.
This story was first published on November 13, 2021. It was updated on November 16, 2021, to include that Boston’s Museum of Science created the exhibit; to correct the museum for which Christine Reich works from the EcoTarium to the Boston museum; and correct that her comments referred to the Boston museum, not the EcoTarium.