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.

14 CURRENT ISSUE Curating Medicine - Issue 14

Marc Quinn with his sculpture Self Conscious Gene

Sarah Wade guest edits this special issue, which charts examples of curating medicine from the perspective of practitioners themselves. Brenda Malone discusses a Rapid Response Collecting project to capture the material culture of the Irish Abortion Referendum, highlighting its role in generating new contemporary collecting strategies for the National Museum of Ireland. Ken Arnold and Danielle Olsen reflect on what they learned from the process of running Contagious Cities, a huge international project co-ordinated by the Wellcome Trust, and Manon Parry looks at evolving trends in the display of medicine, especially the treatment of contentious themes such as disability and decolonialism, in museums across Europe. The role of art in medicine exhibitions is discussed in depth here. George Vasey considers the role art can play in the presentation of uncomfortable themes such as illness and death, as he reflects on the Wellcome Trust’s Misbehaving Bodies exhibition. Katy Barrett interviews various artists connected to the Science Museum’s Medicine galleries while continuing to explore what it means to be an art curator in a science museum. Jörn Wolters presents the Journal’s first photo essay, which visually documents AIDS memorials since 1987, charting an evolution from informal grassroots projects to more formal, institutionally led approaches and making a case for their status as cultural heritage. Finally, in a co-authored paper the curators of the Science Museum’s new permanent exhibition – Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries – reflect on the main themes and questions that guided the exhibition development and consider what they learned for future displays.