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RCP museum extends Fortitude pandemic exhibition

The Royal College of Physicians has extended their emotive Covid-19 exhibition Fortitude after it welcomed 37% more visitors than the museum’s previous display.  

Opened in September last year, Fortitude was created to share the experiences of physicians, consultants, GPs and physician associates who worked during the Covid-19 pandemic in their own words. Having originally been due to end in May this year, after proving popular with visitors to the Regent’s Park based museum, it has now been extended to close on 18 July 2024.  

The exhibition features contributions from the medical workforce, sharing honest stories of suffering, chaos and exhaustion alongside inspiring stories filled with compassion, courage and joy. These include testimonies from a doctor whose skin bled as she scrubbed up to excess in fear that their carelessness could cost lives, and how vaccination milestones served as beacons of light for those in care settings who saw no end in sight.  

Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Fortitude is a stark and emotional reminder of the challenges faced by the medical workforce during the pandemic and we are incredibly pleased with the reception received from the public. 

“The testimonies of contributors in the exhibition are insightful and often heart wrenching. It serves as an immersive reminder of events that will define a period of history and the commitment of a tight-knit medical community which came together in that most challenging of times.” 

Junior doctor Samuel Hey, who worked in the Intensive Care Unit at North Manchester General Hospital in 2020 as Covid-19 led to a flurry of admissions, donated his protective goggles and name badge worn during this time to the exhibition.  

Dr Samuel Hey said: “Everyone has some understanding of the stresses placed on healthcare workers during the pandemic - the public showed fantastic support for those in healthcare settings through that period. But as we move on from the pandemic it is difficult to grasp the impact it had on our community and us as individuals. Fortitude is here to shine a light on that and act as a reminder of the difficulties faced – it really is a must-see.”  

Fortitude’s launch event was attended by leading medical figures including chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty and NHS England national medical director Sir Stephen Powis. Visitors can explore the exhibition in person at the RCP in London, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and until 8pm at our Museum Lates.  

To plan your visit to the Fortitude exhibition visit the RCP museum's website.