A Voyage to Health (2010)

(Co-curated with Davianna Pōmaika‘i McGregor, PhD, Hardy Spoehr, and Maile Taualii, PhD, MPH. The ancient arts of navigation and voyaging that brought the people of Hawai‘i to their island homes are being revived. As part of a wider movement to reintroduce traditional ways, Native Hawaiians are mastering the knowledge and skills of their elders. By restoring their heritage, this new generation of voyagers seeks to heal the people.

This exhibition was launched at the National Library of Medicine in 2010 and has since toured the USA and Argentina. Visit the exhibition website to view the digital version and access educational resources for high school and university students.

 

The Literature of Prescription (2009)

In the late 19th century, at a time when women were challenging traditional ideas about gender that excluded them from political and intellectual life, medical and scientific experts drew on notions of female weakness to justify inequality between the sexes. Artist and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who was discouraged from pursuing a career to preserve her health, rejected these ideas in a terrifying short story titled “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” The famous tale served as an indictment of the medical profession and the social conventions restricting women’s professional and creative opportunities.

The exhibition was launched at the National Library of Medicine in 2009 and then traveled the USA. Visit the exhibition website to explore the online version and access educational resources for high school and university students.

Pick Your Poison (2012)

Mind-altering drugs have been used throughout the history of America. While some remain socially acceptable, others are outlawed because of their toxic, and intoxicating, characteristics. These classifications have shifted at different times in history, and will continue to change.

The transformation of a particular drug, from an acceptable indulgence to a bad habit, or vice versa, is closely tied to the intentions of those endorsing its use, and their status in society. This exhibition explores some of the factors that have shaped the changing definition of some of our most potent drugs, from medical miracle to social menace.

The exhibition was launched at the National Library of Medicine in 2012 and then traveled the USA. Visit the exhibition website to view the online version as well as educational resources for high school and university students.

Life and Limb (2011)

The perspectives of surgeons, physicians, and nurses are richly documented in the history of American Civil War medicine, which highlights the heroism and brutality of battlefield operations and the challenges of caring for the wounded during wartime. Yet the experiences of injured soldiers during the conflict and in the years afterwards are less well-known. Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War focuses on disabled veterans and their role as symbols of the fractured nation.

The exhibition was displayed at the National Library of Medicine from 2010-2011 and then traveled the USA (through 2019). Visit the exhibition website to view the online version and to access educational resources for high school and university-level students.

Changing the Face of Medicine (2004-2006)

 

Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians (co-curated with Ellen S. More, Ph.D.) is a 4000 sq. ft gallery exhibition displayed at the National Library of Medicine, plus national touring version and website, budget $3 million. The exhibition spanned 150 years of history and included profiles of more than 300 women.

These biographies can be navigated though the themes of the exhibition storyline, or organized as search results for the categories of location, ethnicity, career options, or medical schools.

The exhibition website includes visitors’ own stories of inspiring women physicians, short films and interviews, and educational resources for high school and university-level classes.

Against the Odds (2008-2010)

Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Heath (Curator), a 4000 sq. ft exhibition on global health and human rights, was developed to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation.

The exhibition was displayed at the National Library of Medicine from 2008-2010.

The project budget of $800,000 includes a traveling version which has toured to more than 60 venues across the United States.

The exhibition website includes educational resources for high school and university-level classes.

Human Curiosities (2016-2020)

€315,000 research project studying the social relevance of medical museums, culminating in a book and exhibition at Special Collections, University of Amsterdam. While the collections of medical museums, including human remains, are sometimes labeled as “curiosities,” the title refers instead to the idea that it is entirely human to be curious about bodies and that curators can harness that interest in socially-useful ways. However, stakeholders at medical museums disagree on the role of their institutions in contemporary society, on the capacity of audiences to understand complex or sensitive medical issues, and on the most effective exhibition strategies. This project analyzes current medical museum exhibition strategies to identify dominant narratives as well as marginalized histories, and investigate their implications for health and wellbeing.

The focus includes four areas where medical museums could make a significant impact: mental health, infectious diseases, sexuality/reproduction, and bodies of difference (addressing race and disability). This research is of direct relevance to museum practitioners, and is therefore being developed in collaboration with medical museums. Project output includes a Heritage Lab demonstrating interpretive strategies for medical heritage, an online tool for museums and their audiences, as well as an open access journal article and a book. The project will provide the first detailed analysis of exhibition strategies across a range of European medical museums, and the first in-depth study to specifically consider the role of medical museums in promoting health and wellbeing.