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RCP museum opens COVID-19 exhibition 'Fortitude'

The Royal College of Physicians’ museum has launched its latest exhibition ‘Fortitude’ – a unique insight into the first-hand experiences of doctors and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Fortitude, which features unheard accounts from junior doctors, consultants, GPs, physician associates and respondents from more than 20 medical specialties, aims to serve as a permanent record of the experiences of pandemic.

The exhibition includes the testimonies of physicians tackling the demands of the pandemic, including treating a 92-year-old patient who through fear thought respirators were WW2 gas masks, how a doctor’s skin bled as they scrubbed up in fear that their carelessness could cost someone their life, and how vaccination milestones served as beacons of light for those in care settings who saw no end in sight.

Lowri Jones, senior curator of the RCP’s museum, said: “Today’s healthcare professionals had no experience of working through a pandemic before and COVID-19 significantly impacted their working lives, relationships and aspirations. Fortitude offers fresh insight into what it meant to be a healthcare professional during such a defining time in our history.

“Fortitude lays bare both the horrors and moments of hope faced by doctors and healthcare workers tackling the impact of the virus. It shows the tsunami of demand faced by the NHS and the courage and commitment of the tight-knit healthcare community that came together to do what they could to keep us safe.”

Fortitude is open for the public from 25 September 2023 – 24 May 2024 at the Royal College of Physicians building in Regent's Park, London.

To book your viewing of the Fortitude exhibition get in touch at history@rcp.ac.uk, or take your own self-guided tour.