HHH spring meeting welcomes 100th member

On March 7, 2022 HHH members came together at the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave for our spring meeting entitled “Medical museums: material sources in medical history“. As it was the first time in over two years that we could meet in person, we started with lunch, to meet and catch up with each other. And what a privilege it was to convene in the beautifully renovated historical buildings of the Boerhaave Museum, housing the permanent exhibition showcasing many unique objects and stories from the history of science, and the temporary exhibition Besmet! (“Contaminated”) about epidemics then, now, and in the future.

HHH board member Rina Knoeff opens the 2022 spring meeting

Keynote: how to display patients

Unfortunately, keynote speaker Sophie Goggins (senior curator biomedical sciences at the National Museums of Scotland) had not been permitted to travel to the continent by her employer, but her online presentation was no less captivating. By showing many examples from the exhibitions she and her team have curated in recent years, she discussed how they incorporate the patients’ view, and how they deal with ethical questions concerning putting human remains on display. It became clear that the more research is done into the provenance of objects – especially human remains or objects modeled after them – the more painful the dilemma’s get.

In the first round of workshops, Kristel Wautier (University Museum Ghent) discussed with her group the questions that arise when curating collections. Exhibition designer Denise Schipper (Studio Louter) presented the concept of “emotion design”, before taking her audience to the Boerhaave permanent exhibition – winner of the prestigeous European Museum of the Year Award 2019 – to have them experience the design themselves.

Celebrating 100 members

Since the launch of our website just before the outbreak of the pandemic the HHH network has grown considerably, from 75 to 120 members. Over teabreak, HHH chairman Frank Huisman celebrated that fact by presenting a special gift to our 100th member: Lisa Vanderheyden, PhD candidate at Utrecht University.

After the break, the workshop led by Fenneke Sysling (Leiden University) explored the question of ethics in the museum further, while Hugo Schalkwijk (Florence Nightingale Institute) introduced his audience to the FNI’s online museum and discussed with them how to proceed with collecting items documenting the covid-19 pandemic. As during the first round, Bart Grob of the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave showed another group of HHH members around its exhibitions.

At the closing of the event, the question was asked whether members can suggest a theme for HHH meetings. Yes, we welcome your ideas! Please get in touch with any member of the HHH board or through our contact page.