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Blood, phlegm and bile at Medical Museion

Would you think of your body in the same way if you lived in the 19th century? According to the Medical Museion, the answer is No.

In the 19th century, humans understood the body as a system in balance between liquids. Blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile. Treating patients could be quite dramatic, removing and adding one of these liquids.

We are at the Balance and Metabolism exhibition, in the 224-year-old museum building of the Medical Museion. It is about the old idea of the chemical body and what constitutes a healthy body, historically, and in the present day.

Today, the body is seen as a complex chemical system. Sickness is seen as a result of chemical reactions. Doctors seek to control these reactions with medications

The past is not only the past

As Assistant Professor at the Medical Museion, Adam Bencard, explains it:

»Medical science is an old idea going back hundreds of years even before Christ. And it still plays a big part in our lifestyle and the way our society is constructed«.

»With this exhibition we want to use material from history to show the changing process of comprehending the body, and to show how our bodies really work. We want to connect science and history in the past, present and future,« he adds.

Genomic chips from Beijing

The museum has one of the largest collections of medical historical material in Europe. This material can be used to understand health and disease from the perspective of a certain point in history. The museum building is full of history. It is everywhere.

Built in 1787, the auditorium (in the picture above) was the scene of autopsies until 1943. According to the Director of the Medical Museion, Thomas Söderqvist, the black plate on the table in front of him has even had several different body parts on them – for autopsy!

In the entrance hall, is an installation. It is part of a cutting-edge research project on genomic chips, coming all the way from Beijing.

Both the installation and the exhibition are meant to give medical science a new look, involving artists, design, and other parts of academia and culture.

Check out our previous gallery:
‘Medical Museion has some weiiiirrd stuff’ here.

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