RCP Museum Late – September

Royal College of Physicians Museum

6th September 2023 | 5:30PM

Discover our fascinating collections after hours with the opportunity to join a free curator talk.

Register free with Art Tickets

Join us from 5.30pm to explore the fantastic collections throughout our building including:

  • fine art portraits and ceremonial silver
  • the fascinating Symons collection of artefacts which would have been used by physicians and for self-care in the home
  • the Prujean chest of 17th century surgical instruments
  • an extraordinary set of rare 17th-century human remains

We will have collections you can get hands-on with from cupping jars to an electro-magnetic machine! Plus, you can have a go at diagnosing historic diseases.

There will be specialist curator talks on the archives, heritage library and museum collections at 6pm and 7pm and our Regent’s Perk café will be open for refreshments.

Herbal Medicines – who cares about the stuff up in the old garret?

Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret

7th September 2023 | 6:00PM

Is there a place for herbal medicines in ‘modern’ society? If you ask the ‘general public’, it will be a clear ‘yes’. Similarly, if you look at many societies, herbal medicines are integrated into modern healthcare, like Traditional Thai, Chinese or Indian Medicine. If you ask UK healthcare professionals, however, you will often get the view it is irrelevant or stuff of the past. In this talk, Michael Heinrich will explore the historical and modern roles of herbal medicines in the UK and our perspective on it both from a pharmaceutical-medical and an anthropological perspective. The talk will look at the evolving role of herbal medicines, globally and at the current situation especially in the UK. He will discuss examples of medicinal plants, how their uses and roles have developed over time and also at what the future may hold. Overall, he sees an emerging stronger role for products derived from plants and fungi in managing the many chronic conditions we suffer from and in managing minor, self-limiting conditions. First and foremost, this also calls for a very strong focus on training healthcare professionals and it is essential that in primary healthcare such products are seen as an adjuvant approach supporting the main therapies, provided that the herbal medical products are of high quality, safe, and with a reasonable (often empirical) evidence base.

Some background information: Herbal medicines play a major role in what people do on a daily basis, but often very little is known about their use, since this is done outside of the UK’s mainstream healthcare system. In many other European countries herbal medicines have remained a core element of community pharmacy, and are an important healthcare resource, also recommended or prescribed by medical doctors. In the UK, these products are no longer primarily sourced through community pharmacies but more general outlets. In Australia, however, within a few years herbal medicines (natural health care products) made a renaissance and are now used much more widely again. The WHO’s Declaration on Primary Healthcare (PHC) explicitly states: ‘We will apply knowledge, including scientific as well as traditional knowledge, to strengthen PHC, improve health outcomes and ensure access for all people to the right care at the right time and at the most appropriate level of care, …..’ (Astana Declaration 2018).

About the speaker:

Michael Heinrich is a Professor of Ethnopharmacology and Medicinal Plant Research (Pharmacognosy) and was until 2018 the head of the research cluster / Centre ‘Biodiversity and Medicines’ at the UCL School of Pharmacy. He currently serves as the joint chair of UCL’s Research Ethics Committee (with Dr. L. Ang, Institute of Education). The group’s research is based on a transdisciplinary perspective integrating approaches from the biomedical and social sciences with an overall aim of tackling the fast changing global health needs. Key areas of interest include the prevention and early stage management of diabetes / metabolic syndrome and cancer chemoprevention based on the use of traditional medicines as well as value chains of (herbal) medicinal products. The research integrates methodological approaches from ethnopharmacology, natural product research, public health research, and anthropology. https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=jWHm_7oAAAAJ&hl=en / https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=MHEIN39 Currently, he is one of the two Vice-Presidents of the GA (Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research), one of the largest societies in the field. He is Specialty Editor in Chief of Frontiers in Pharmacology (Ethnopharmacology) as well as an associate editor of the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, among a wide range of other roles.

About the event: 
-6:00-7:00 pm: Talk + Q& A.
-7:15-8:30 pm: Music will play in the Herb Garret which was specially curated and played by our resident DJ Andrew Ravensable!
-The Apothecary Wine bar is opened until 8:10 pm. Drink tokens can be purchased at Front of House (Glass of wine/beer £5 and thematic cocktail £6).
-Workshop/Activities to take place in the Herb Garret.
-Time to look at the exhibitions. (Be advised that we do not allow any drinks in the Old Operating Theatre itself).
8:30 pm: Event ends, but you can continue the party at Amazing Grace below us if you are so inclided!

We are looking forward to welcoming you to this museum late!

Who Cares for the Carers? Film Screening and Q&A (in person)

Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre

7th September 2023 | 6:00PM

A screening of ‘Exposed: Nursing Narratives’ and short films based on interviews will be followed by a panel discussion.

Anxiety, frustration, guilt and inner turmoil characterised the COVID-19 pandemic for many nurses. For some, this was compounded by racism and discrimination. The pandemic affected the wellbeing of all of us, but this film screening and Q&A focuses on the impact on healthcare staff, who witnessed the loss of patients on a scale most had never experienced before. A screening of Exposed: Nursing Narratives and short films based on interviews carried out by researchers at the University of Surrey will be followed by a panel discussion.

This is an in-person event only.

Medieval Pharmacy: From Text to Practice

Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret

14th September 2023 | 6:00PM

During the Middle Ages, pharmacy was a science experiencing a significant progress. Several factors contributed to it: the development of trade, the production of numerous collections of recipes, and, above all, the flourishing of a therapeutical practice in different contexts (monasteries, cities, courts). This talk will look into the main trends of Medieval pharmacy, showing how those elements intertwined with one another, contributing to the progress of therapeutics, and to the creation of a “science of healing”.

About the speaker:

Iolanda Ventura (PhD in Medieval Latin, University of Florence, 1999) is Associate Professor of Medieval Latin at the University of Bologna (Alma mater studiorum). Previously, she held positions as “wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin” (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) at the University of Münster, as post-doc scholar at the Université Catholique de Louvain, and as Assistant Professor (maître de conférences) at the University of Orléans (see full Curriculum Vitae, below). From 2011 to 2016, she was distinguished Research CNRS Professor (lauréat de la Chaire Mixte d’Excellence CNRS) in History of Medieval Science, and “chercheur en délégation” at the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes (Paris/Orléans, CNRS, UPR 841).

Her research interests concern the history of medicine and medical texts in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern time, with special reference to the history of pharmacology and pharmacological texts, the reconstruction of the connections between science and learned culture between the 13th and the 17th c., the development of encyclopaedias as literary genre and as an example of the dissemination of science among non-specialized readers. She is also putting together on a preliminary inventory of medical manuscripts preserved in European libraries. She has published widely on history of Medieval and Early Modern medicine and scientific (especially encyclopaedic) culture.

About the virtual event:

The talk will start at 6:00 pm, London time. You will receive the link to join, via zoom, about 30 to 15 minutes before the talk. Please, ensure that your video if off and your audio is on silence. You will have the opportunity to ask questions via the ‘chat’ function at the end of the talk.

The event will be recorded and ticketholders will have access to it for a limited time after receiving the link, which we endeavour to have ready within a week after the event.

Hospital Ballroom Blitz: A Museum Late

Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret

21st September 2023 | 6:00PM

Join us this Autumn Equinox for a trip back to 1945! For one night only, we are transforming the museum into a ballroom where we will teach the Charleston Stroll (non-partner dance moves)! We kindly request that guests come dressed appropriately for a 1945 ballroom extravaganza. We will have dance teachers on site to teach us the steps, but if you want a preview you can check out this video that our friends at the Imperial War Museum did!

About the event:

  • 5:45 pm: Doors open.
  • 6:00 pm: Welcome Speech and distribution of red and blue ribbons.
  • 6:15 pm: Red ribbon group learns the Charleston Stroll in the Operating Theatre/Blue ribbon group has drinks and workshop activities in the Garret.
  • 6:45pm: Groups Swap!
  • 7:15-8:30 pm: Dance! Dance! Dance!
  • Meanwhile:
    • The Apothecary Bar is opened until 8:10 pm. Drink tokens can be purchased at Front of House (thematic cocktail £6).
    • Time to look at the exhibitions. (Be advised that we do not allow any drinks in the Old Operating Theatre itself).
  • 8:30 pm: Event ends, but you can continue the party at Amazing Grace below us if you are so inclinded!

We are looking forward to welcoming you to this experimental event!

The Curious Life of Elizabeth Blackwell: Why Has History Ignored Her?

Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret

28th September 2023 | 6:00PM

28th September 2023


Herbs, prison, and passion, these pepper the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, Britain’s first female botanical illustrator. Though her parents warned Elizabeth that Alexander would not make a dependable husband, only after eloping with him did she wonder if they may have been right… After their marriage, the couple find lodgings in London. Alexander opens a print shop, falling foul of Guild rules and is sent to the Marshalsea, the notorious debtors’ prison, leaving Elizabeth to fend for herself. Alone and penniless, she embarks on a quest that earns her a small fortune and, against all the odds, turns her skill in engraving into gold. Capitalising on an introduction to Sir Hans Sloane, physician to the King, she persuades him to arrange for fresh specimens from the Chelsea Physic Garden to be delivered to her. Her weekly instalments of ‘herbals’, stunning painted images of plants with clear text on their therapeutic value sell to apothecaries and the public alike. She makes enough money to pay off Alexander’s debt and buys his freedom. But that’s just the start …Though Elizabeth’s book of prints, The Curious Herbal, is a treasure of the British Library, few people know her incredible story on which I base my novel.

About the speaker:

Pamela Holmes was born in Charleston, South Carolina. At the age of eight, she moved with her family to England. After school, she lived on a Somerset commune where she became adept at milking cows and laying hedges. Then she graduated as nurse from London University and started a band. When her sons left home, she turned to writing. The Curious Life of Elizabeth Blackwell is her third novel. She has also written The Huntingfield Paintress (2016) and Wyld Dreamers (2018).

About the event: 

  • -5:45 pm: Doors open.
  • -6:00-7:00 pm: Talk + Q& A.
    -7:15-8:30 pm:

    • -Music will play in the Herb Garret.
      -The Apothecary Bar is opened until 8:10 pm. Drink tokens can be purchased at Front of House (Glass of wine/beer £5 and thematic cocktail £6).
      -Workshop/Activities to take place in the Herb Garret and book signing.
      -Time to look at the exhibitions. (Be advised that we do not allow any drinks in the Old Operating Theatre itself).
  • -8:30 pm: Event ends, but you can continue the party at Amazing Grace below us if you are so inclined!