collections to local, national and international audiences. Surgeons' Hall Pathology Museum is the oldest museum building in Scotland with its original collection largely intact.
Surgeons' Hall Museum continues its own major £4 million development plan to increase public access and education programmes but an essential element of the plan is the strengthening, through partnership, of the medical heritage sector in Scotland as a whole. It is the first time Scottish museums, libraries, galleries and archives have collaborated to raise awareness of specific collectionsin this way.
‘The Scotland & Medicine: Collections & Connections Partnership’ was established in December 2004 with the aim of promoting the medical collections and health connections of Scottish Museums to local, national and international audiences. It was awarded £300,000 over three years through the Regional Development Challenge Fund financed by the Scottish Executive through the Scottish Museum’s Council. In July 2005, ‘Scotland & Medicine’ was officially launched with a new website along with the first of three regional leaflets, ‘Edinburgh: City of Medicine’.
The highly popular touring exhibition ‘Anatomy Acts’ has adopted a new approach to exploring and exhibiting anatomy. The lead curator was Dr Andrew Patrizio, director of Research at Edinburgh College of Art and the co-curator was Dawn Kemp, Director of Heritage of the Royal College of Surgeons’ of Edinburgh. This proved to be a productive and creative relationship between art and museum curator-ship.
Through ‘Anatomy Acts’, two new websites, partnership marketing and museum staff skills development, this initiative has opened up these most amazing museum collections to new audiences in Scotland and the rest of the world.
Some of your comments:
The Scotland and Medicine project is highly innovative in its approach and has greatly advanced the knowledge of Scotland's medical museums and library collections. The benefits to individual museums from involvement with Scotland and Medicine in terms of getting wider public recognition and awareness for important, yet largely hidden collections is something that could not have been achieved without this project.
Claire Smith, Aberdeen – 5 March
I support the amazing work of the Scotland and Medicine partnership in making collections accessible to new audiences and in creating a supportive network for museum staff in the process. They have succeeded in enthralling and engaging these audiences in a subject previously the preserve of a specialist elite as anyone who has seen the Anatomy Acts exhibition will testify. Importantly, they have managed to do this while creating a network of support and debate for staff involved in the partnership from a broad range of institutions, thereby raising the profile of the collections and the institutions as well as creating a highly successful exhibition. The partnership is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by museums working together.
Alison Taubman, Edinburgh – 6 March
Medical science has been at the heart of Scottish educational achievement for 200 years and this exhibition explains why. It is a real monument to Scotland's world-wide contribution to health and development. The exhibition and concept were completely appropriate to illustrating the subject to a wider audience. As a historical display it was quite moving to witness the past brought to life by the real objects and the sensitive treatment given to them by the curators. We dearly need exhibitions like this that engage with complexity and the intellectually difficult in our dumbed-down age. Well done to all concerned.
Margaret Stewart, Dalkeith – 16 March