C-3PO and R2-D2 stand on a Star Wars set. The futuristic lettering reads, "Parents of Earth, are your children fully immunized? Make sure--call your doctor or health department today. And may the Force be with you."While the Paul S. Russell Museum of Medical History of Innovation has become host to Mass General’s flu shot clinic, staff have set up a mini-exhibit of historical health posters for patients to enjoy while they wait. Eight reproduction posters from different decades display public health messages, ranging from a 1918 poster reminding people to cover their coughs so they don’t spread the flu, to a 1994 poster proclaiming pizza and boomboxes “in” and smoking “out.” The posters were developed by state and local governments or the federal government, and one was designed by an artist funded by the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal program during the Depression.

A cartoon of a surprised fly wearing four dirty shoes and a pair of dirty gloves, standing on a slice of bread. The lettering reads, "When a fly wipes his feet on your food he's spreading disease! Never give a germ a break!"Some posters share information that present-day viewers are used to seeing from public health campaigns. For example, two are about the importance of vaccines. Some of them show their age a bit more, such as the one recommending that every home have a “sanitary unit” (an outhouse). Another poster reminds viewers that insects can spread disease. Since this concept was only proven in the late 19th century, the early 20th century audience would not have found this obvious.

The Russell Museum is currently only open for the public flu shot clinic through Dec. 12. Posters will be on view through the end of the clinic. Visit https://www.massgeneral.org/news/flu for operating dates and hours.

An '80's era poster separated into two sections by a horizontal line. The top section, labeled "In," shows a teen girl in 80's clothes, surrounded by a boombox, a bomber jacket, a striped glove, a floppy disk, a football, purses, sunglasses, and other teen essentials. The bottom section, labeled "Out," contains only a full ashtray.