Bring Out Your Dead: A Walk Through Plagues, Madness, and Medicine in Philadelphia - Atlas Obscura

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Bring Out Your Dead: A Walk Through Plagues, Madness, and Medicine in Philadelphia

Join health and science journalist Elana Gordon on a fascinating journey through the rise of modern medicine and psychiatry in America.

On this walking tour, you'll explore how epidemics and treatments of Philadelphia's past have informed our present day understandings of disease, healthcare, and society... with the help of several historic sites, some obscure readings, and at least one “odditorium.” 

Today, Philadelphia is a hub for modern healthcare and research, but the founding city has also been a trailblazer in medicine, from establishing the first hospital on colonial territory to its stake on the front lines of combating HIV/AIDS. The city is rich with hidden stories that add a different lens to a well traversed history, when viewed through  some of the biggest threats to public health and mankind. 

Alongside Elana, we’ll visit a hidden moat, search for a sinister set of keys, investigate rotten coffee, and of course pay homage to a few founding fathers and several trailblazing women. We’ll explore how epidemics and treatments of Philadelphia's past have informed our present day understandings of disease, healthcare, and society.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: 

Elana Gordon has covered everything from small pox in the age of Ben Franklin to drug use in the age of fentanyl. She helped launch WHYY's health and science show, The Pulse, and has been a contributor to Kaiser Health News and NPR. Her stories about bodysnatching and Legionnaires' Disease have been featured on the popular podcasts Criminal and 99% Invisible. Most recently, she has been researching public health, neuroscience and addiction as a Knight Science journalism fellow at MIT.  

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:

  • The walking tour starts from the Benjamin Rush Garden at 143 S. 3rd Street. It will end at Pennsylvania Hospital at 8th and Pine.
  • The tour is outdoors so please dress for the weather and bring drinking water!
  • The walk covers approximately two miles crossing streets and alleys in historic districts. Some parts of the walk could be challenging for anyone with accessibility issues. Please get in touch if this is a concern. 

QUESTIONS?

Email John Pettit at  john.pettit@atlasobscura.com.

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.