The NHS George Cross Medal which was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II in 2021 has been unveiled at the Science and Industry Museum.

It comes ahead of a new major exhibition opening later in the year that will explore the global response to the COVID pandemic. The medal display is accompanied by two first-hand accounts from a front-line healthcare worker and volunteer collected through the University of Manchester’s Voices from Our NHS oral history project.

The George Cross is the highest civilian gallantry award given for acts of the greatest heroism. It was awarded to the NHS in England, in recognition of the ‘courage, compassion and dedication of NHS staff and volunteers during the covid pandemic.

Injecting Hope: The race for a COVID-19 vaccine opens on Fri 19 Jul, and will showcase the intense and rapid work to develop a vaccine as well as the extraordinary efforts of the NHS in its response.

Both the medal and upcoming exhibition will also offer the chance for the museum to delve deeper into Greater Manchester’s history of pioneering healthcare and public health, exploring the region’s role in some of the NHS’ most important developments.

The new displays hold extra significance given that it was here in Manchester, at Davyhulme park Hospital (now known as Trafford General), where the NHS officially began in 1948.

Injecting Hope: The race for a COVID-19 vaccine will journey through the NHS’ history and achievements, dig deeper into the worldwide response to the pandemic and uncover inspiring stories of the scientists and innovators who collaborated around the globe.

More than 100 objects will be on display, highlights include the vial of the first COVID-19 vaccine to be administered worldwide, personal items belonging to those at the heart of its development and stunning artwork by Angela Palmer supporting visitors to visualise the virus that swept across the world.

The free exhibition arrives at the Science and Industry Museum this summer as part of an international tour, one which has seen the Science Museum Group partner with the National Council of Science Museums in India and the Guangdong Science Center in China to open the exhibition in international venues and highlight the worldwide nature of this issue and response.

Steven Leech, Curator of Exhibitions at the Science and Industry Museum, said: “We are delighted to have NHS England’s George Cross Medal on display at the museum. Greater Manchester has a pioneering history of healthcare, from its role as the first industrial city highlighting the need for public health measures, to it being the location of the first NHS hospital and even the birthplace of the world’s first IVF baby, the city region is brimming with medical history and having the medal here gives us a great opportunity to open up these conversations.”

The George Cross medal is on display now until January 2025 in the main entrance of the museum. Injecting Hope: The race for the COVID-19 vaccine will open in the museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery from Fri 19 Jul – Sun 17 Nov 2024, with free tickets available to book later this year.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Fri 19 Jul - Sun 17 Nov, Science and Industry Museum,
Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Mon 18 Mar 2024