Up Close and Medical: Discover London’s Medical Museums

Tuesday 3rd October 2017

Enjoyed the recent BBC Two comedy series Quacks? Get your hands on some of the collections that inspired the programme at our special half-term event hosted by the Royal College of Nursing on Saturday 28 October, 14.00-17.00.

Explore thirteen of London’s Medical Museums all in one place at this trade fair with a difference.

As well handling objects from centuries past, there will be opportunities to test your surgical skills, try your hand at Victorian pill making and find out more about your own family history.

This event is free, open to all and family friendly. You do not need to book, but you may find it useful to register here to receive a reminder email before the event.

After hours we will be staying open for an entertaining evening of medical museum open mic.

Watch museums stand-up and hear the weirdest and wildest medical stories as we show off the lighter side of medical history. Each museum will fill a 9-minute slot, all smoothly and hilariously brought together by our compere Comedian Dan Green.

Tickets cost £7 and include a free drink. Book here.

Over 1.5 million nursing records published on Ancestry

Thursday 18th August 2016

Three collections of nursing registers and application forms held by the Royal College of Nursing and the Wellcome Library have been published digitally for the first time by specialist family history website Ancestry.

The records span nurses’ registrations and appointments from 1891-1968, and provide a unique insight into nursing and women’s history in the UK.

Among the records is RCN founder Dame Sarah Swift.

As her record shows, she was trained in the Dundee Royal Infirmary and received her certificate in nursing in 1880.

Her extensive experience and contacts with the matrons of large and prestigious hospitals meant that she was ideally placed to successfully champion the formation of the College of Nursing.

Other famous names in nursing include Dame Joanna Margaret Cruickshank, the founder of the Royal Air Force Nursing Service, and Dame Emily Mathieson Blair, former Matron-in-Chief of the British Red Cross Society.

The new resource will give families and historians the chance to uncover previously untold stories of nurses from the UK and overseas.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “The RCN is committed to preserving the history of the nursing profession, so it’s wonderful to see the records of so many inspiring nurses being digitised for the very first time, especially during our centenary year.

Nurses have touched the lives of so many families, and this resource gives people the chance to travel back in time to discover the real lives of their nursing relatives.

Caring for the nation for generations, often through wars and crises, these nursing staff deserve to be remembered, and this unique project will help preserve their legacy for many more years to come.”

Members wishing to view the records without subscription can visit their nearest RCN Library.

The Royal College of Nursing’s Library and Heritage Centre has won a competition to design and host a special event with contemporary British artist Peter Liversidge.

Friday 3rd June 2016

Connect! gives organisations the opportunity to ‘win’ a leading contemporary artist to create an installation during the Museums at Night festival – the UK’s annual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage.

Peter Liversidge is a British contemporary artist notable for his diverse artistic practice and use of proposals, written on a manual typewriter.

The RCN competed against four other venues in a public vote, and has been announced as the winner. The first nursing organisation to ever take part in the competition, the RCN will work with Peter to develop a programme of activities, based on 100 years of RCN and nursing history.

Visitors will be invited to the RCN Library and Heritage Centre in London on 29 October 2016, where they will help to develop these activities through a series of challenges set within the RCN building.

Sarah Chaney, Audience and Engagement Manager at the RCN, said: “Peter Liversidge is one of the country’s most exciting artists and we are thrilled to be working with him. Nursing and the arts often come together in unforeseen ways and it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to do so as we celebrate a hundred years of nursing.”


Bethlem Museum of the Mind shortlisted for Museum of the Year award

Friday 3rd June 2016

Bethlem Museum of the Mind, which was reopened by artist Grayson Perry in March 2015, has been shortlisted for the 2016 Museum of the Year award.

The museum cares for an internationally renowned collection of archives, art and historic objects, which together offer an unparalleled resource to support the history of mental healthcare and treatment.

In 2015 the museum moved from cramped accommodation to a newly refurbished art deco building at the heart of Bethlem Royal Hospital, the UK’s oldest psychiatric institution. The space provides excellent facilities for storing and presenting its collection, as well as a permanent home for the Bethlem Gallery, which showcases the work of current or former patients of the local NHS trust.

The museum is competing against the V&A, Arnolfini, York Art Gallery and Jupiter Artland Sculpture Park and Gallery for the £100,000 prize, which will be announced at a London ceremony in July.

Find out more about the museum and its work by watching this short film.

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