Museums for medics
A more memorable alternative to textbooks
A few weeks ago, I received a telephone call from my parents. They asked, “Shall we go out this weekend, maybe to a museum?” I hesitated. It wasn’t a lack of interest that stopped me, but the certainty that I couldn’t afford the time. With exams creeping closer and coursework due, surely a museum trip was the last thing I needed? The very thought of indulging in interests beyond medicine invoked guilt instead of calm.
On reflection, I considered whether visiting a medical museum could be a caveat to this feeling? Could medical museums offer benefits beyond the textbook, lectures, and clinical focus of modern day medical teaching?
Museums in medical education are old news. Throughout the 19th century and before, museums attached to medical schools were commonplace, highly valued, and integral to the curriculum. Classes and exams were conducted there, and students frequented the anatomical museum as often as