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PLAGUE! at Magdalen

Epidemics and College Life

From bubonic plague to Covid-19, Magdalen College has been impacted by dozens of epidemics throughout its 564-year history. Through its rich library and archives, this exhibition explores the college’s experience of—and responses to—epidemic diseases, from its founding in 1458 to the present day.

Epidemics have left a lasting mark on Magdalen and on wider Oxford. The existence of the Long Vacation is itself an artefact of the repeated need to send fellows and students away from the city during the summer when plague was rife. Today, the Covid-19 pandemic still continues to shape college life.

This exhibition shares stories of Magdalen’s experience of epidemics, showcasing manuscript and print material on the history of plague, smallpox, cholera, typhoid, STDs, Covid-19, and other diseases.

This exhibition will be on display in the Old Library, Magdalen College, Oxford on Wednesday afternoons 2-4:30pm from 1st February to 5th July 2023. See visiting information here.