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New Horizons for Medical Museums and Collections

Medical museums are in permanent flux. Collections containing objects related to the
history of medicine and health play a role in teaching, research and learning in the
broadest sense. The past years medical museums in particular have demonstrated the
power to contribute to patient communities, health and wellbeing, and society at large. Yet from small scale local collections to national medical heritage entities, ways of dealing with medical collections will continue to change with the urgent challenges and questions that lay ahead. The conference aims to investigate the role and value of medical museums (and/or medical collections) for societies in the past, present and future. What is the potential of medical collections? How can medical museums be of value in the context of current and future challenges?

To explore this topic, an international and interdisciplinary conference will be held
at Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden, the Netherlands between 20 and 23
September 2023. The conference aims to bring curators, scholars, students and medical
professionals together to discuss ways of making and keeping medical collections
relevant. What could be the place for medical heritage within the new museological
landscape? How can we explore new horizons for medical museums?
Papers (20 minutes) might address, but are not limited to the following themes:

● Medical museums and the future
● International collaborations and medical collections
● History of medical museums/collections
● Medical museums and teaching
● New approaches towards exhibiting medical collections
● Audiences old and new – diversity, inclusion and public engagement
● Medical museums and media
● The role of medical museums in times of crises

We particularly welcome papers or panels that are explicitly inclusive and embed diversity into our discussions.
Proposals for papers should be in a single Word document, including a 250-word abstract and a short CV/biographical statement, and sent to mieneketehennepe@rijksmuseumboerhaave.nl by 28 February 2023. We also welcome proposals from participants who would like to present or discuss on a roundtable
some of the ways that they are working together on medical collections related topics.
This conference will be organized by a new international association for medical museums (provisionally named International Association for Medical Museums (IAMM)). This association is the successor of the European Association for the History of Medical Sciences (EAMHMS). During the 2023 conference the new international association will be formally launched and we invite all interested to be part of this new movement.