Examine a little-known chapter in Connecticut’s history during this walk with State Archaeologist Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni. Today smallpox is an improbable threat to our health, but in the small rural villages of colonial Connecticut, where smallpox epidemics raged and waned in cycles, it was a grim, terrible, and often lethal reality. The practice of inducing immunity by variolation, exposing a patient to a small amount of smallpox inoculum from a person with a mild form of the active disease, was an ancient practice known worldwide. Eli Todd and Theodore Wadsworth opened the Todd-Wadsworth Smallpox Hospital in 1792, following news from Boston of a smallpox outbreak. This hospital was primarily a place for the wealthy to have their families variolated and also housed some recovering patients. Sixty-six of the hundreds of patients treated at the facility carved their names into a smooth ledge where patients would socialize and receive messages from home. Join Dr. Bellantoni for a visit to this State Historic Archaeological Site where we will learn about this fascinating story in Connecticut’s medical history. Advance registration required: $20 ($15 for Museum members). Adults and children ages 10 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Presented by the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Connecticut Archaeology Center, both part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UConn. 860.486.4460 - http://www.mnh.uconn.edu/
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