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Biomedicine in museums

Hidden Stories — the biannual European medical museum conference in Berlin, 13-15 September 2012

Readers of this blog may remember that the 2010 biannual European medical museum conference was organised here at Medical Museion. The next biannual meeting, in 2012, will be hosted by our German sister museum, the Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité, 13-15 September.

The theme for the Berlin meeting is ‘Hidden Stories: What do medical objects tell and how can we make them speak?’  (the call for papers was posted here a couple of months ago). Here’s the preliminary program with sessions and speakers:

Session 1: Intro, getting things going
Robert Jütte (Stuttgart): Exhibiting intentions: Some reflections on the visual display of a culturally purposeful object
Thomas Söderqvist (Copenhagen): Is the ‘things talk’ metaphor really useful? Or does it conceal a deeper understanding of our material interaction with things?

Session 2: Object biographies (I)
Sophie Seemann (Berlin): A friend’s skull – gazing in a patient’s room in 1757
Christa Habrich (Ingolstadt): A mystery of a platinum-made cystoscope
Lisa Mouwitz (Gothenburg): Looking through the nail
Jim Edmonson (Cleveland): The art of extrapolation: following the trail from patent number to a revolution in surgical instrument design and manifacture

Session 3: Object biographies (II) – Waxes
Marion Maria Ruisinger (Ingolstadt): Christus anatomicus
Sara Doll (Heidelberg): Models of human embryogenesis. The search for the meaning of wax reconstructions
Michael Geiges (Zürich): Wax moulage Nr. 189. From teaching aid to the patients‘ story by an unusual research document

Session 4: Teaching
–  Shelley McKellar (London, Ontario): Challenging students with toothkeys and carificators: Experiences with object-based teaching in history
Alfons Zarzoso (Barcelona): Teaching medical history through the material culture of medicine
Stefan Schulz (Bochum) and Karin Bastian (Leipzig): Object-based, research-oriented teaching in seminars and exhibition Projects

Session 5: Research
Thomas Schnalke (Berlin): Divas on the catwalk. Some thoughts on research with objects in medical history
Claire Jones (Worcester): Identifying medical portraiture: The case of Andrew Know Blackall
Julia Bellmann and Heiner Fangerau (Ulm): Evolution of therapeutic technology: Industrial archives and collections as sources for historians of medicine
Benoit Majerus (Luxemburg): The Material culture of asylums,
Nurin Veis (Melbourne): Stories from asylums: Discovering the hidden worlds of the psychiatric services collection

Session 6: Presenting
Hsiang Ching Chuang (Eindhoven): Contextualizing museum experiences through metaphors
Mieneke te Hennepe (Leiden): Scary things: Horrifying objects between disgust and desire
Bart Grob (Leiden): Medicine at the movies
Tim Huisman (Leiden): Anatomical illustration and beyond: Looking at Bidloo and De Lairesse’s Anatomia humani corporis

There is quite restricted seat capacity in the central conference venue in the ‘Hörsaalruine’ so the organisers strongly recommend that you register here as soon as possible (after 16 April and before 31 May). The registration is only valid when the organisers have received the conference fees.

Hoping to see you all in Berlin in mid-September! As the main organiser, Berliner museum director Thomas Schnalke, puts it:

We are looking forward to meeting with you in Berlin to share thoughts on ideas and issues that sometimes drive us crazy with frustration and delight: medical objects, collections and the stories behind them.


Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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