Exhibitions

It's a Gas! Dentistry & Cartoons

Monday, May 9, 2016 to Saturday, December 17, 2016

"It’s a gas!" is an expression meaning "it’s hilarious" or "it's funny". A possible origin is the effect of Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) on one’s behaviour. Nitrous Oxide gas was first synthesised by the English chemist Joseph Priestly in 1772, and first used to anaesthetise a dental patient in 1844. Anaesthetics transformed the delivery of dental services, having a significant impact on the well-being of the patient. However people still fear the dentist and the dentist is the brunt of many jokes. This exhibition traces the history of dentistry through illustrations and cartoons dating from the seventeenth century to today. Themes include fear, relief, pain and vanity. Works will come from private and public collections. It is on at the Medical History Museum, Brownless Biomedical Library, University of Melbourne.

Medicine: Then and Now

Monday, February 22, 2016 to Monday, June 20, 2016

Medicine: Then and Now tells the story of how Medicine has transformed over the last fifty years. The exhibition highlights and contrasts important medical instruments and visual records of the student experience, past and present. This exhibition has been possible due to the generosity of Melbourne Medical School Alumni and current medical students who have kindly donated items for this exhibition. The exhibition concept and planning has been lead by members of the Melbourne Medical School Student Ambassador program. The Melbourne Medical School Student Ambassador program is an initiative to promote student leadership, peer-to-peer student support, and opportunities for mutual learning between students, alumni and the broader community. The exhibition is on the 1st floor of the Brownless Biomedical Library, University of Melbourne

Compassion and Courage: Australian Doctors and Dentists in the Great War

Friday, April 24, 2015 to Saturday, April 30, 2016

War precipitates change and discovery in both the medical profession and in the field of dentistry due mainly to necessity and the immediacy of the issues at hand. The forefront of this innovation is in the field, in the midst of makeshift hospitals, poor hygiene and inadequate supplies. During WWI servicemen dealt with appalling conditions in the trenches and were subjected to the effects of new weapons such as mustard gas. Consequently, medical professionals in the field faced a courageous battle against the challenges of war wounds, poor sanitation and disease. This exhibition explores the physical injury, disease, chemical warfare and psychological trauma of WWI, the personnel involved and the important medical and dental breakthroughs that were a direct outcome of the War. Sponsored by Victorian Medical Insurance Agency Ltd, the name behind PSA Insurance.

Boisterous Beginnings: Doctors in the Port Phillip District

Saturday, October 11, 2014 to Saturday, February 28, 2015

Surgeon George Bass, Matthew Flinders’ close friend, had visited what became Victoria when he landed in Western Port Bay in 1798 but it was not until settlement in the 1830s that doctors began their work in what was then known as the Port Phillip District. The Medical Register was extended from New South Wales to the Port Phillip District in 1838. There were some formidable personalities practising medicine in the area at the time, but they often had other interests and activities that were apparently more important: politics, for example, the acquisition of land and the accumulation of fortune. By 1844, the Medical Board had listed in the Government Gazette 35 “gentlemen [who had] submitted the necessary testimonials of qualification” to practise in the Port Phillip District. But it was two years before 12 of them formed a Port Phillip Medical Association (PPMA). This exhibition examines these early beginnings of a professional association highlighting the key individuals and social values of the day.

Epilepsy: Perception, Imagination and Change

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 to Saturday, October 4, 2014

Attitudes to epilepsy provide an excellent perspective on the collision between magic and science, the earliest records attempting to distinguish between disease and demonic possession. This interpretation of the origin of seizures has influenced significantly the management of the illness over the ages, and continues to inform popular conceptions. This exhibition brings together past and present attitudes to epilepsy examining impact on individuals, families and communities. 2014 is the fiftieth Anniversary of the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria.

Strength of Mind: 125 Years of Women in Medicine

Friday, September 13, 2013 to Saturday, April 5, 2014

Women were admitted to Melbourne Medical School in 1887, 25 years after the course had commenced but 21 years before women were entitled to vote in Victoria. These first seven female medical students were tenacious, resilient, and visionary; challenging the social values of their day and making major contributions to public health in Victoria. Led by Constance Stone the first woman to register as a doctor in Victoria in 1890 ( she had undertaken her medical education in Canada) they went on to establish the Queen Victoria Hospital in 1896. The first hospital established in Australia for the care of women that was managed and staffed by women and one of three internationally. These attributes have been the qualities of many women in medicine over the last 125 years as they have contributed to all aspects of medical practice and research. Women now comprise over 50% of medical graduates. This exhibition celebrates their achievements from 1887 to now.

Venom: Fear, Fascination and Discovery

Monday, March 25, 2013 to Saturday, August 24, 2013

Human fascination with the power of venom and the quest for a universal antidote against this most feared of poisons, is deeply woven into the history of medicine. Australia has some of the world’s most venomous creatures. Over thousands of years Australian Aboriginal people incorporated ways of understanding and dealing with these venomous creatures in their cultural and healing practices. Colonial Australia response was fear and fascination. The first exhibits at the Melbourne Zoological Gardens were snakes to warn the local population of their danger. From the first professor of Medicine, George Britton Halford, the University of Melbourne has been part of the global debate on the nature of venom.

A Body of Knowledge : The Anatomy Lesson

Thursday, September 13, 2012 to Sunday, January 20, 2013

Encompassing models, moulages, notebooks, photographs and illustrations—items from the extensive collections of the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum, the Medical History Museum, and other University collections—this exhibition will highlight the fascinating objects and materials used in the teaching of medicine and dentistry at the University of Melbourne.

A Body of Knowledge : The Art of Teaching : Clinical Schools

Thursday, September 13, 2012 to Sunday, March 3, 2013

Clinical schools have always been an intrinsic part of the teaching of doctors. Photographs, artworks, objects and documents from the archives of St Vincent’s Hospital, The Alfred Hospital, Austin Health, The Royal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Southern Health, The Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital, Western Health and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) reveal the early beginnings, students and major figures in the life of the clinical schools.

A Med Students Life

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 to Friday, August 24, 2012

Memories, ephemera and photographs of student days collected from Melbourne medical graduates from the 1860s to today. This exhibition brings together the key elements of student life; the teachers, the study and the camaraderie.

Highlights of the Collection

Friday, February 3, 2012 to Tuesday, March 20, 2012

50 items selected for Highlights of the Collection, Medical History Museum collection ranging from major examples of human endeavour and scientific discovery to mundane objects. Yet, their distinct provenances all enrich our knowledge of medical history.

The Physick Gardener: Aspects of the Apothecary's World

Thursday, April 1, 2010 to Saturday, September 1, 2012

From the Collections of the University of Melbourne exploring the practice and tools of apothecary.