Hot off the presses! : Medical Museums: Past, Present, Future

Just yesterday we received copies of Medical Museums: Past, Present, Future, published by the Royal College of Surgeons of England to mark the 200th anniversary of their museum opening. The origin of the RCSE museum may be traced to the acquisition of John Hunter’s anatomy and pathology collections in 1799. The College had just purchased property on Lincoln’s Inn Fields and would soon build its new home there, incorporating gallery space for Hunter’s collections. The doors opened in May 1813 and the Hunterian remains a distinguished medical museum today, having most recently (2005) been re-opened in a beautifully renovated setting at the College.
All this and the fascinating stories behind fifteen leading museums, authored by associated curators, directors, and historians, have been capably edited by Sam Alberti and Elizabeth Hallam, and lavishly presented in a handsome volume. The Dittrick was included along with three other American medical museums, and eleven from across the UK and Europe. Our contribution benefitted from the wonderful photography of Dittrick assistant curator Laura Travis.
We’ll be offering this book as a bonus to new and renewed membership in the Friends of the Dittrick Museum. Details to follow. In the meantime, here’s a selection of Laura Travis’s photography for the book:
Drawing by H. F. Aitken
Selection of mid 19th century contraceptives
and associated advice literature
from the Percy Skuy Collection
Midwifery manikin, c.1780
Modified Laennec stethoscope, c.1834 and
first image of the stethoscope in use,
from Dictionnaire des sciences medicales, 1819
Rogers sphygmomanometer, c.1920
from the M. Donald Blaufox collection
Percussion and reflex hammers.

About the blogger

James Edmonson is Chief Curator of the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum of Case Western Reserve University, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of History. Publications include American Surgical Instruments (1997) and Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine, 1880-1930 (Blast Books, 2009).  Dr. Edmonson serves as American liaison to and Secretary General of the European Association of Museums of the History of Medical Sciences. Read more here.

Published by

Brandy Schillace

Historian and author Brandy Schillace, PhD, is Editor for Medhum Fiction | Daily Dose, Research Associate and Public Engagement at the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum, as well as Managing Editor of the medical anthropology journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry.

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