Exhibition: London’s Lost Museums at the Hunterian

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 18, 2011

Press release from the Hunterian:

London’s Lost Museums: Nature and Medicine on Show
Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, 1 March — 2 July 2011

William Bullock's Egyptian Hall

London’s Lost Museums: Nature and Medicine on Show celebrates early natural history and anatomical collections once displayed in the capital, now ‘lost’ due to neglect, dispersal or destruction. With manuscripts, illustrations and specimens, the exhibition brings to life the contents, purpose and fate of seven historic collections and paints a portrait of curators and museum practices of the last 350 years. The exhibition also provides an opportunity to see fascinating objects such as a rare illustrated catalogue, Museum Regales’ Societis from 1681, a mummified foot believed to be from the Royal Society’s Repository, and hear about the devastating bomb damage inflicted upon the Hunterian Museum during
the Second World War.

As noted by Sarah Pearson, Curator at the Hunterian Museum, “Displays of natural history and anatomy have been popular in London since the 17th century and were curated for various reasons, some enhanced social and professional credentials while others were created to inspire wonder or to educate. Whatever their purpose, precious remains of collections forgotten, dispersed or damaged have found their way into today’s museums, including the Hunterian Museum, and so centuries on are still helping to explain  the world of nature and medicine.”

The seven ‘lost’ natural history and anatomy museums featured in the exhibition are:
1. The Royal Society’s Repository – 17th to 18th century
2. Sir Hans Sloane’s Museum – 17th to 18th century
3. Sir Ashton Lever’s Holophusikon and the Museum Leverianum – 18th to 19th century
4. William Bullock’s Egyptian Hall – early 19th century
5. Joshua Brookes’ museum of anatomy and natural history – 18th to 19th century
6. John Heaviside’s anatomy museum – 18th to 19th century
7. The original College Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons – 19th to 20th century

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London’s Lost Museums Study Day
Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, 21 May 2011

For those inspired by the exhibition London’s Lost Museums, this study day offers the opportunity to learn more about museums that did not survive the test of time. Engage with the material and manuscript remnants of forgotten collections and tour the exhibition with its curators. Featuring speakers from across the heritage sector:
* Sam Alberti (Royal College of Surgeons) on lost medical museums
* Alan Bates (University College London) on lost anatomy shows
* Caroline Cornish (Royal Holloway) on Kew’s lost museums
* Stuart Eagles on the lost art museum at Ancoats
* Tim Knox (Sir John Soane’s Museum) on a lost architectural museum
* Frances Larson (Durham University) on Wellcome’s lost collection
* Chris Plumb (University of Manchester) on lost animal displays

£45/£35 concessions (MGHG members; College members, fellows and affiliates, full-time students). Includes refreshments and lunch. Bookings: 020 7869 6560. More information is available here»