Medical Museum in rare display


A rare display of the some of the historic medical curiosities that have been collected by The University of Manchester over the past 150 years has opened at Manchester Central Library.

Nine cabinets placed in the corridor outside the reading room on the first floor cover a range of topics from hearing and visual aids to equipment made of glass, silver and ceramics and a special display of packaging.

The items on display are rarely seen by the public. Some of the highlights include a Second World War Penicillin syringe made from the oil can of a Bren gun, a delftware ceramic jar used for storing drugs dating from the 1700s, hearing aids spanning several decades including bejewelled ones made to look like hair clips and illustrations by the renowned medical artist Dorothy Davison. 

The curiosities on display come from the University’s Museum of Medicine and Health which is normally housed in the Stopford Building.

Also running as part of the exhibition are images taken with a Victorian camera of hearing loss patients, and narratives of their hearing loss experiences. The work is part of a project, “Silence of The Photograph”, that explores what hearing loss means through the use of imagery. Images and narratives from this project can be viewed on the first floor and in the Shakespeare Hall Foyer.

The exhibition’s curator Dr Jenna Ashton says: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to see some really fascinating medical equipment. We’re also really pleased to have the images on display from our project.”

She continues: “It’s been an interesting experience putting the collection together for display in the newly refurbished library with its circular space.”

“Artefacts and Experiences, Reframing Narratives Across Medicine and Health” runs until November 7 and is part of the Manchester Science Festival, proudly supported by MOSI.

Notes for editors

Images of the items are available from the press office. It is also possible to arrange a visit to the exhibition where journalists can handle some of the items on display.

For images and interview requests please contact:

Morwenna Grills
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Life Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 2111
Mob: 07920 087466
Email: Morwenna.Grills@manchester.ac.uk 

Museum of Medicine and Health 
The museum came in to being when the Medical School moved from its old building on Coupland Street to its present home in 1973. During the course of the relocation, hundreds of items of historical interest were identified, catalogue and over the years many have been on display. The Museum of Medicine and Health contains a vast and diverse array of artefacts dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. For more information, click here.

Manchester Science Festival – Supported by Siemens
A burst of creation, experimentation and wonder is at the heart of this year’s Manchester Science Festival (MSF) proudly produced by the Museum of Science & Industry – supported by Siemens and Lead Education Partner University of Salford. Running from 23 October – 2 November in over 40 venues across Greater Manchester, this award-winning Festival is now in its eighth year. With more city-wide and creative collaborations than ever before, this diverse and inspiring 11 day programme features World Premieres, internationally acclaimed art and artists, cutting-edge science, comedy, hands-on workshops, evening events, talks and a jam-packed family programme all designed to inspire, engage and immerse visitors of all ages with the science that lives all around us. www.manchestersciencefestival.com   

Museum of Science & Industry
The Museum of Science & Industry tells the story of where science met industry and the modern world began whilst telegraphing Manchester as a 21st century city of science. The Museum (MOSI) sits on one of the nation’s most historic industrial heritage sites. Covering 7.5 acres and including five listed buildings, this small corner of Manchester is one of the key places in the UK, and therefore in the world, where the Industrial Revolution began. On MOSI’s site are some of the city’s finest 19th century warehouses - including the first railway warehouse - and it is home to the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station.  The museum’s mission is: To explore where science met industry and the modern world began, and to understand the impact that Manchester science, technology, and innovation continues to have on all our lives.