Tuesday 16 July 2013

Plague and Pestillence

Plague and pestilence are aplenty at Eyam museum, so its only natural that my enduring morbid curiosity bore me to Eyam, the 'plague village'.

The Derbyshire village of Eyam was famously infected with the plague in 1665 when plague bearing fleas arrived concealed in a bundle of cloth from London. The village, which quarantined itself from the outside world in an effort to prevent infection, is steeped in the history of the plague and ideals surrounding it, including Danse Macabre.
Outbreaks of plague historically have far reaching social, religious and economical consequences, all of which can be observed at Eyam museum.

Eyam museum details the scientific aspects of the plague, and chronicles its spread across Europe. However the most interesting side of the devastation of the plague is the human story, which is highlighted and focused upon in the Museums exhibits.
The plague provides an insight into how humans typically react to the extreme and sudden devastation of natural disasters, events such as this often bring out the best, and worst of human nature. Religion often becomes important, either as a ray of hope or an explanation for the catastrophe.

The images below detail some of my favourite exhibits of the museum, including morbid, god fearing woodcuts, taxidermy rats showing the differences between the common brown rat and the plague rat, and an iconic symbol which has become synonymous with the the great morality; The Plague Doctor.

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