Science Museum Group Journal
The Science Museum Group Journal presents the global research community with peer-reviewed papers relevant to the wide-ranging work of the Science Museum Group. The Journal freely shares the research of five national UK museums and warmly invites contributions that resonate with their collections and practice.
15 CURRENT ISSUE Spring 2021 - Issue 15
This Spring issue reflects the wealth of research which continues to be conducted and written about despite pandemic disruption. A collection of papers associated with the Science Museum’s 'Science City 1550–1800: The Linbury Gallery' features an article by Jane Desborough and Gloria Clifton on how the absence of women in the sources on early modern science hides their very real contribution; an analysis by Rebekah Higgitt et al, on the importance of the physical spaces where science was conducted in London; and David Bryden’s focused study of a single trade card, which shows how a small ephemeral object can bring a relatively unknown inventor and tradesman to life. In other articles, Emily Rees Koerner brings Henrietta Vansittart, an extraordinary Victorian female engineer, into the spotlight; and Farrah Lawrence-Mackay explores the origins and use of the popular metaphor of ‘iron lungs’ to describe machines that were generally made of plywood. Tackling the importance of decolonisation, Kristin Hussey and Martha Biggins analyse a collection of images held by the Royal College of Surgeons Museum that depicts Dr Bhau Daji’s secret cure for leprosy, showing how Imperial power mediated the evaluation and exchange of medical knowledge between the colonies and the Metropole. Also making use of some extraordinary images, Sarah Stradal et al present research on the ways that the wounds of Christ were used in devotional practice in Medieval Europe. And finally, the Group’s Director, Ian Blatchford, presents early findings from his ongoing biographical study of Lyon Playfair, chemist, educator and politician who was instrumental in the creation of the Great Exhibition but who tends to be overshadowed by the more extravert Henry Cole. A book review and an obituary of another Science Museum Director, the extraordinary Dame Margaret Weston, round off Issue 15. We hope you enjoy reading it.
Lyon Playfair: chemist and commissioner, 1818–1858
This article explores Lyon Playfair's life between 1818 and 1858, from his birth to his appointment as Professor of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh.
The role of women in the science city: London 1650–1800
This article traces the contributions made by women to the growth of the instrument-making trade and the emergence of a scientific culture in London between 1650 and 1800.
Clinical images, imperial power and Bhau Daji’s secret treatment for leprosy at the Royal College of Physicians Museum
This article explores a collection of medical photographs and illustrations from the Royal College of Physicians Museum showing patients treated for leprosy by Dr Bhau Daji in the mid-nineteenth century.
Contagious Cities: an international collaborative enquiry
Contagious Cities explored infectious diseases in Geneva, New York, Hong Kong and Berlin through a variety of cultural programmes. We examine its outputs and outcomes, the complexities of working with multiple stakeholders, and what might be learned from its approach to partnership and commissioning.
Artist interviews – new art for Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries
This article brings artistic and curatorial voices to reflect on the meaning of four major new art commissions in Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries. Curator of Art Collections, Katy Barrett, talks with artists Eleanor Crook, Marc Quinn, and Studio Roso.
Curating Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries
The curators of Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries reflect on their experiences of creating these significant new displays at the Science Museum in London.