The Science Museum, London has launched a new history of medicine website, “Brought to Life.” Meant to be the premier history of medicine resource for educators and students, the site features
images of 4,000 medical objects selected from the Science Museum’s collections. From amulets to alligators, leech jars to lodestones you can find all of these from here. The Museum’s objects, many of which are from the Wellcome Trust, cover more than 3,000 years of medical history.
Information on the site has been organized into categories including “Themes and Topics,” “Objects,” and “Technologies and Techniques.” Among the images of objects featured on the site are those of a number of objects important to the history of psychology. Under the theme “Mental Health and Illness” alone are images of nearly 200 objects, including the human phrenological skull pictured at right.
Additionally, many of the discussions featured under the site’s 15 Themes and Topics touch on issues important to the history of psychology. These include sections on “The Science of Human Difference” and “War’s Long Term Effect,” the latter of which discusses both the psychological impact of war, as well as the involvement of psychologists in the mental testing of soldiers. Under Technologies and Techniques are profiles of a number of psychologically relevant historical concepts and contraptions including, among others: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), neurasthenia, phrenology, and railway spine.
You can explore the “Brought to Life” website here.
One thought on “New History of Medicine Website”
Just a quick reply from the Science Museum’s curator of psychology, who authored the Mental Health and Illness section on ‘Brought to Life’. The section is organized around four specific areas within the history of psychiatry — asylums, nervousness, trauma, and women — each coupled with a particularly appropriate object from the science museum’s psychology collections (check out my madwoman: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/themes/menalhealthandillness/womanandpsychiatry.aspx). I’m also particularly proud of the flash-animated interactive which accompanies this section. It presents three historical psychiatric tests in action. Please try it out at http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/themes/menalhealthandillness/psychiatric_tests.aspx and let me know what you think. It’s meant to engage students but also (hopefully) to inspire other historians of psychology. This is the kind of stuff I’d like to see more of.
Thanks very much for taking notice of the site on your blog!
BPS Curator of Psychology
Science Museum, London
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