News & Events
You can either follow our news on Facebook with the application below, or scroll down the page to view our recent activity. This page will be updated regularly so that you can keep up to date with what's going on. Call us on 01905 760638 to be added to our mailing list.
For information about past events, please see our archive
Music & Medicine:
Joining forces with The Elgar Birthplace Museum
We have recently joint forces with staff at The Elgar Birthplace Museum and Visitor Centre to provide exciting days of activities for both school groups and booked tours. If you are part of an adult group we have the perfect joint offer for you, which includes a morning at the Elgar Birthplace Museum, lunch at the Charles Hastings Restaurant and a tour and handling session at the George Marshall Medical Museum for the bargain price of £16 per person. We're even throwing in one free entry for your group leader or coach driver. See the .pdf below for more details and how to book this exciting offer (click the link to open it in your internet browser):
Details of our joint schools programme can be found on our Learning>Schools webpage. Click here for more details and book now to see if your students can help to Purge the Plague!
Visit from the BBC's Antiques Road Trip
Exciting news as we hosted cast and crew from BBC's Antiques Road Trip last week!
Dr. Frank Crompton and antiques expert Thomas Plant being filmed at the museum. Image copyright Charles Hastings Education Centre
You may have seen our Facebook status updates about the show, or our Press Release in Worcester News and Berrows Worcester Journal this week that the Museum, which is famed for the collection of 19th-century death masks of hanged criminals from Worcester gaol, has now been filmed for the show.
The programme, in which experts set off on a road trip around the UK searching for treasures and competing to make the most money at auction, will focus on the life and career of Mr. George Marshall, and will highlight some of his astonishing antique medical collection, now on display in the Museum.
Our Curator, Louise Price said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of our most interesting collections, and we hope plenty can watch when it finally airs later in the year!"
Look out for our death masks, surgery chair, surgery kit and collection of hand-painted artificial eyes in the programme when it finally goes live!
For more information click here.
The Infirmary's formal opening
On Friday 26th April The Infirmary held its formal opening ceremony in rooms at The University of Worcester's City Campus. It was nearly standing-room only as over 100 invited guests were treated to speeches from the the current President of the British Medical Association, Professor the Baroness Hollins; Mr. John Black; Curator Manager Catriona Smellie; and the University's Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor David Green, respectively.
Amongst the guests was Mr. George Marshall's son, Sandy, who told us what a pleasant (if a little emotional) evening it was! Indeed, George Marshall and his collections received the highest accolade from Mr. John Black, former President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Photographs copyright The University of Worcester.
Mr. John Black and Professor the Baroness Hollins next to the unveiled plaque (left), and the Baroness Hollins with the University's Prof. David Green in the historic Board Room where the British Medical Association was founded (right).
The teams at GMMM and The Infirmary also said goodbye to The Infirmary's first Curator Manager Miss Catriona Smellie, who is leaving Worcester to begin a new role. Here she is, showing Professor the Baroness Hollins around The Infirmary last Friday.
Photograph copyright The University of Worcester.
On Saturday 6th April we will be tackling our annual deep spring clean of the museum's displayed objects and cases. If you would like to help out with this extremely important job to ensure the life of our fabulous exhibitions, please get in touch with Louise, the Curator. You can telephone on 01905 760738 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jobs on the day will include (but are not limited to):-
- polishing the silver items on display
- cleaning case windows
- dusting and cleaning all displayed objects
- checking our mannequins' clothing for pest damage
- hoovering the operation display
LUNATICS - The Mad Poor of Worcestershire in the Long Nineteenth Century
Dr. Frank Crompton is a Social Historian, Historical Advisor to the George Marshall Medical Museum and an expert on Worcestershire's former mental asylums and their patients.
We are pleased to announce we can offer for sale Dr. Crompton's latest academic publication, in which he writes about the history of patients in a Pauper Lunatics Asylum 'from below'.
Dr. Crompton said: "The intention of this book was to investigate the Worcester City and County Pauper Lunatic Asylum during the period from 1852 to 1912 so as to be of interest to a general readership, but also to users of the Powick Asylum Archive on the website of the George Marshall Medical Museum..."
This fascinating publication is available for purchase from both the George Marshall Medical Museum and The Infirmary for £10.00. Please contact us for details, as we can post once payment is received.
Dr. Frank Crompton. Photograph by the BBC.
Please find GMMM and The Infirmary's shared newsletter by clicking on the link below:
This month we have accepted a number of items into our permanent collection. The first, Baillière, Tindall & Cox's Aids to Arithmetic in Nursing is in good condition and stamped the property of the Casualty Ward at Evesham Community Hospital. Unbelievably, the front inside cover is marked with a very familiar name, that of John Clayson, the husband of one of our brilliant volunteers, who happened to be in charge of Casualty when it was at Briar Close. This will be stored with the rest of our fantastic book collection, which is available to members of the public for research by appointment. Visit our Research page, to find out more.
The other object accepted this month is a white doctor's coat. It has been donated by Dr. Robert Morrison, former Worcester GP, and was given to him to replace his white student coat which went 'missing' at Simpler House, where all the medical students had their meals in Birmingham. Although we have various articles of nursing clothing, this is our first garment relating to the life of a medical student in the West Midlands, so we're very pleased to have accepted it.
Mental Health Matters: workshop pilot
On Monday 25th February we hosted a number of students from the University of Worcester who are studying Forensic Psychology and who came along to test our brand new workshop Mental Health Matters. We had some great feedback (see below) about the workshop and activities, and will now focus on tailoring the same activities to KS3 students.
Programme for the day:
- Talks from Dr. Frank Crompton about the history of mental hospitals and mental illness;
- Introduction to ArtinMinds, Worcester, by Jayne Gaze, with opportunities to chat to the artists about their work;
- The chance to test their investigative skills with our physiognomy activity;
- Examining real case notes from Powick Mental Asylum's registers, in order to try and work out why each patient was admitted;
- Tours of the museum, with particular focus on our Mental Health display case and our death masks of hanged criminals;
- Lively discussion with Ken Crump, former nurse at Powick Mental Hospital about his career at Powick in the latter part of the 20th Century.
A selection of photographs from the day. Images (C) Charles Hastings Education Centre
We had some great feedback from the students:
"The objects in the museum were very surprising...it was very informative"
"I enjoyed speaking to people from AiMs and generally learning more about mental illness."
"The man who worked at Powick Hospital was really interesting..."
"Aspects were challenging, but if it was easy it wouldn't have been as interesting. The challenge was exciting..."
As part of Visit Worcester's 'Love Worcester' events, you can visit both George Marshall Medical Museum and The Infirmary to see temporary displays of hospital romance.
Thursday 14th February, join members of staff for an open evening at the former Worcester Royal Infirmary, with guided tours and displays in the Jenny Lind Chapel.
Monday 18th February 1-5pm, we will be having a family afternoon at The Infirmary with hearty crafts!
Click on the following link to open a flyer for all 'Love Worcester' events between 14th-25th February:
See our Visit Us page for information about how to find us.
We'd like to introduce you to our new museum mascots.
Louise, our Curator, artist Sarah Millin and staff from the Children's Ward at WRH deliberated over the final 6 'Marshalls', and just couldn't agree on one. So, we've chosen two, which will be used for both promotional and educational material for children and adults respectively.
The two Marshalls, or Marshall and Marshall Jr., were drawn as part of our Big Draw event in November 2012, when members of the public created a body from the objects in our collection. The complete album has been available for members of the public to comment on via our Flickr album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/themedicalmuseum/sets/72157631887731679/.
Q: Can you see what medical equipment has been used in each one?
Strangely they both have the same right arm!
Important donation accepted into our permanent collection...
As usual, we like to keep our followers up to date with our most recent acquisitions.
Mr Guy Laurent of Severn Stoke, has donated a number of objects relating to the career of his Aunt and Uncle.
His Aunt, Dr. Jean Clark, M.B.E., nee Wright, was educated at St. Andrew's University where she studied Medicine and Dentistry, professions that few women took up at that time. She qualified in 1943 at the age of 22, before specialising in plastic surgery. She applied herself to the treatment of burns and other forms of disfigurement suffered by military personnel in the Second World War. Gleneagles Hotel was used as a hospital where she worked tirelessly on injured allies and prisoners alike, before moving to Worcester in 1954 where she worked as a Plastic Surgeon in Wordsley (Stourbridge).
Unfortunately, in the 1960s, Jean was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and had to abandon her career. So, she turned her attention and energy to making sure that the voice of the disabled was heard at both a local and national level. In 1977 she was included in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Birthday Honours list and was awarded an M.B.E. for services to the disabled. The Museum has accepted a number of photographs of Dr. Clark, as well as books relating to her Plastic Surgery career and a reference book about Multiple Sclerosis. We are also extremely lucky to have accepted her M.B.E. and associated ephemera, including the numerous congratulations letters sent to her from medical practitioners in Worcester. We hope to display her M.B.E. in the Museum in the New Year.
Mr. Alastair Clark, FRCS, Copyright Geoffrey N. Hopcraft.
Dr. Jean Clark, MBE
Copyright not known.
Mr. Laurent's Uncle, Mr. Alastair Clark grew up in Scotland and studied Medicine at The University of Edinburgh. He married Jean and they moved to Worcester when Alastair was appointed the first orthopaedic surgeon at Worcester Royal Infirmary. A hip unit at the hospital was named after him. We have gratefully accepted a number of orthopaedic volumes that were used by Mr. Clark in his studies and working career. Many of these are first editions and are in excellent condition.
Our Collections Committee consults about all objects which members of the public wish to donate to the museum. For information about our Acquisitions Policy please go to the 'Contact Us' page of this website to speak to the Curator.
So, we had an absolutely brilliant day drawing with Worcester illustrator Sarah Millin and visitors to Worcestershire Royal Hospital's Children's Ward and CHEC on Saturday 27th October! To view some photographs from the event click here!
The Big Draw 2012: Making Marshall!
Event: Making Marshall
Date: Saturday 27th October
Time (for Riverbank patients and their family): 10am-12pm
Time (for members of the public): 1pm-3pm
Details: Join Worcester illustrator Sarah Millin and staff from the museum as we create a brand new mascot using indian ink and medical objects from the collection! The winning drawing will be used in future promotional material at the museum. Details to be announced.
Cost: FREE (and free parking at CHEC for all)
The day is part of The Big Draw, a national campaign for drawing, and is completely FREE for participants.
In the morning we will be working with Worcester artist and illustrator Sarah Millin and staff and patients from Worcestershire Royal Hospital's children's ward (Riverbank).
In the afternoon all members of the public are invited to join in at the Charles Hastings Education Centre.
For more information contact Louise Price on 01905 760738.
10th Birthday Celebrations!
The Charles Hastings Education Centre, in which GMMM is situated, celebrated its 10th birthday yesterday. Museum staff and volunteers, along with those attending the centre in the day were treated to a beautifully made cake in the afternoon and then invited guests enjoyed a number of short talks by speakers including Dr. John Hardcup and Mr. John Black, former president of the Royal College of Surgeons.
Images copyright Charles Hastings Education Centre
Here's to the next ten years! And don't forget we will be having our very own 10th anniversary celebrations for the medical museum next year. Watch this space!
NHS Graduate Trainee joins the GMMM staff
Mutsa Gurupira, a 2nd year NHS Graduate Trainee will be working with Louise for 2 months at the Museum. We're extremely lucky to have her, and will hope to impart at least some of our knowledge for working with medical collections during that time. To get her started, we thought it would be useful for her to get to know the legacy of our very own Mr. George Marshall, and so with Louise's help, Mutsa has designed a small display about the man himself in the ground floor corridor at the Education Centre just outside the museum's entrance doors.
The display, which replaces Beckie Payne's artwork based upon our masks of 10 hanged men from Worcester jail, is just in time for The Charles Hastings Education Centre's 10th year celebrations tomorrow (11th September, 2012). Pop along between 11am-4pm to check out the new display and help us to celebrate our anniversary with a free hot drink and slice of the celebratory cake!
Our dispensing record book from the George and Welch Pharmacy, with details of patients and their prescriptions for the years 1824 to 1830. Image copyright Charles Hastings Education Centre.
Can you help?
We are trying to find out where the board is from the Outpatients' Department of the former Worcester Royal Infirmary building on Castle Street.
It is pictured clearly in the right background of the first photograph, and you can see it in more detail in the photograph below. Please get in touch if you think you know where it might be...we have absolutely no idea and are extremely interested to find out what happened to to it.
Worcester has a rich background of medicine...
...and we have just found some minutes from the British Medical Association's 50th annual meeting which proves that even in 1882, the exhibition of medical objects was of interest to Worcester's inhabitants. The programme gives details of a week's worth of events celebrating the BMA's half a century, and includes the "16th annual exhibition of objects in connection with Medicine, Surgery, and their Allied Sciences", which took place in the Music Hall, Worcester.
In connection with the event, a catalogue was produced by the Curator of the Museum of the BMA.
We would be very interested to find out if a copy of this catalogue still exists, so please get in touch if you think you know where one might be.
The Museum has recently accepted a donation of a Desoutter artificial limb from the late 1930s. Pictured in this photograph, the prosthetic for an above-knee amputation is made of Alclad and is described as a 'light metal limb'. The accompanying information book Back to Activity promises that the saving in weight is beneficial to both walking ability and general health, and is the material which has '...made the modern high-performance aeroplane possible.'
The leg belonged to Horace Reginald Greaves, and was donated by his daughter Mrs Hunter of Halesowen. He was born in 1914 on the Hagley Road, Halesowen. He was very keen on sports, and received an injury to his left leg whilst playing football as a young boy. This injury developed into a bruised bone and his leg was later amputated.
Mr. Greaves © not found
The Desoutter prosthetic leg was issued to him in 1945 at the cost of just over £48.00 (see image of estimate). However, by this time he was in his thirties and his family, friends and colleagues were well used to him walking with the aid of crutches. He was teased about the artificial limb and after only a short spell wearing it, it was left in the back of the wardrobe. He used crutches to walk to and from work every day and, according to his daughter, could do anything with them except for pushing a wheelbarrow.
Open Day - Thursday 26 July, 2012 10am-4pm
If you're looking for fun activities to keep the whole family busy in the summer holidays this year, then pop along to the George Marshall Medical Museum's family open day on Thursday 26th July.
Running from 10am - 4pm, there will be plenty for everybody, including arty trails and hands on activities for the kids, and a great opportunity to hop onto Worcestershire Museum Services Museum on the Move for its exhibition Just Art, a brand new travelling exhibition which explores the arts through objects, images and activities. Click here for more information.
For one day only, the travellind exhibition, Just Art, will be parked up outside the Charles Hastings Education Centre.
On the day, talented graduates from the University of Worcester will be at the Museum, creating work inspired by Worcester's rich medical history, and you will also be able to see an exhibition by artist Beckie Payne, who created a number of brilliant mixed media sculptures inspired by our death masks. This display will be at Charles Hastings Education Centre, just outside the main entrance to the Museum until the end of August 2012.
And...if that wasn't enough, we are also providing the rare opportunity for visitors to view some of our beautifully illustrated skin disease and anatomy volumes - they will certainly make you squirm!
A page from one of the atlas of skin diseases. Image (c) Charles Hastings Education Centre.
For more information get in touch with Louise on (01905) 760738 or e-mail email@example.com.
Call for volunteers!
Louise Price, the Museum's Curator is looking for assistance from a couple of keen volunteers to help with care of collections once every 3 months on a regular basis. If you're interested and want to find out what you would be doing, get in touch with her on 01905 760738 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Knit One For Worcester"
The Commandery is running a year-long event to create the largest knitted tree known to mankind. Here is GMMM's very own leaf in the blue and green colours of the Museum with URLs to the website and our Facebook page. Why not take a leaf out of our book and knit your own?!
Nurturing Worcestershire's Treasures
Laura Butland, Graduate Trainee at the Museum, has been working with us since July 2010. She is one of five graduate trainees working across six different heritage sites in Worcestershire, all of whom are learning the practical skills needed to pursue a career in the heritage sector. If you would like to know what each of the trainees is currently working on, please get in touch to for a copy of their newsletter.
We have just acquired a collection of hand-painted glass eyes. The eyes, along with a set of prescriptions for eye drops, once belonged to the donor's Aunt, whose right eye was damaged by forceps during her difficult birth in 1910. A small sample of these treasures will be on display in the Museum's ophthalmology case soon!
National Brain Awareness Week
March 12 - 18, 2012 is National Brain Awareness Week. Why not pop into the Museum and take a look inside our brain box and mental health display cabinet?
Did you know...
...a new study has revealed for the first time that activating the brain's visual cortex with a small amount of electrical stimulation actually improves our sense of smell.
...by training birds to 'get rhythm', scientists have uncovered evidence that our capacity to move in time with music may be connected with our ability to learn speech.
Find out more at the Museum.
Our brain box was kindly given to the George Marshall Medical Museum by the Museum on the Move, Worcestershire.
Riddled with Disease!
A big congratulations to Alexis, our literary genius, who guessed 8 out of 10 clues correctly! She visited the Museum during the Half Term with her family all the way from Liverpool, and told the Curator she also really enjoyed the Mystery Object Game in the Museum. Well done Alexis; a certificate will be winging it's way to you soon!
Now that the trail is finished we can post all of the answers, so click on the .pdf file below to see how well you did. Below is an example of one of the clues, which most of our visitors guessed right. Well done!
The size of these things varies,
Depending on the dose.
So think of Mary Poppins’ songAnd you’ll be getting very close!
If you click on the link, the file will open in your internet browser.
Oral History clips go live!
We have been busy uploading some clips of the Museum's oral history collection onto Youtube. Click here to find out more and to listen to the clips!
GMMM's Historial Advisor to give talk to W.I.
Dr. Frank Crompton, the Museum's Historial Advisor will be giving a presentation on his current research topic Lunacy in Worcestershire to the Queenhill Women's Institute in March this year. He has a great interest in the history of mental asylums in Worcestershire and beyond, and the talk promises to be fascinating. Dr. Crompton has been instrumental in the success of our online Medical Archive, which is available here. If you would like to enquire about a talk for your group please visit the Contact Us page by clicking here.
Riddled with Disease!
Half Term event at the George Marshall Medical Museum
As part of Visit Worcester's Shakespeare in Worcester Half Term events, the George Marshall Medical Museum is putting on a self-guided tour for our visitors between Monday 13th and Friday 17th February 2012.
Bring your family along to try your hand at being a lyrical detective! Follow our self-guided trail around the Museum, using riddles and rhymes as clues to find objects as you go. Once you've discovered all ten, try your hand at creating your very own rhyme based on an object of the Curator's choice.
After the event, trail answers will be posted here and on our facebook page facebook.com/themedicalmuseum, so don't spoil the answers for any of our other detectives! The Curator's favourite riddle will also be posted here...so watch this space!
For other events in Worcester during Half Term, click on the following link to go to Visit Worcester's information page: visitworcester.com.
PGCE students get stuck in
A bunch of PGCE History students from the University of Worcester came to the Museum on Monday 16th December with their tutor to work with some objects from our collection and try to create some activities based upon those objects. They had some amazing ideas and they'll hopefully come back to us to loan some objects to use as part of their student placements in secondary schools this year.
© Charles Hastings Education Centre
PGCE from the University of Worcester working on object selection for their loans box activities
Oral History Transcription
So far we have had an amazing response to our call for volunteer transcribers on the Jobs Desk organised by the Department of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. We are sending out copies of oral histories to the interested parties to be transcribed and summarised.
The aim is to have all of our oral history collection transcribed, themed and catalogued by the end of 2012. We will then be able to use oral histories in future research and take clips of the audio to be used in our current oral history display in the Museum. Click here for our 'Volunteers' page.
We have also been asked to prepare some clips for use at The Hive. Opening in Worcester in the summer of 2012, the Hive will be an integrated Public and University Library as well as a centre for archives and history. It will be the first of its kind in Europe.
We are on Facebook
Claire Jones is a medical artist who specialises in illustrating the body and how it works. She spent a morning in the Museum with the idea of drawing one of our instruments. In the end it was an ordinary pair of sterilizing forceps which took her fancy and she has recently sent over the final result. I'm sure you'll agree the effect is quite impressive:
You can take a look at Claire's blog here: http://www.claire-jones.com/blog/
Thanks to our work experience student from New College, Worcester, and Small Grants funding from our Museum Development Officer, we are now able to offer a podcast that aims to guide visually impaired visitors around the Museum, describing key objects in the cases and highlighting physical features of the space and how to access facilities in the building. We have five iPod Nanos with attached iTells (from Cobolt Speechmaster), as well as five sets of headphones. We will also have large print versions of this guide available to read. If you or someone you know would be interested in test-driving this equipment, please get in touch with the Curator.
The podcasts will be available to download from the website shortly to enable visitors to access the information in advance of a visit. In the meantime, we are happy to email them on application.
Proposed Extension of the George Marshall Medical Museum
The Museum and the University of Worcester are working together to develop a brand new museum exhibition within the former Worcester Royal Infirmary at Castle Street. Stories of local healthcare, including Powick Lunatic Asylum and community memories of the WRI, will be celebrated using collections currently hidden away in the Museum’s stores. The exhibition will stimulate understanding about contemporary health issues, within the context of the beautiful Georgian Infirmary.
External view of former Worcester Royal Infirmary.
Copyright John Prosser.
This is your opportunity to help! We are applying for funding for this ambitious projectnowand you can help to make it happen. If you would be interested in participating by sharing your opinons, or would simply like more information about the project, please get in touch with us.
For information about past events, please see our archive