Manchester pop-up museum showcased 70 years of the NHS

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TAKING place at Chetham’s Library in the heart of Manchester, a pop-up museum emerged to observe the old and new of the National Health Service (NHS) From a speculum to glass eyes, the museum, created and hosted by The University of Manchester’s students, had it all.

Yesterday, for one day only, the pop-up museum featured objects in the Museum of Medicine and Health, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. A number of stalls were situated in a hall exhibiting different objects from the past and the present, showcasing how far the National Health Service has come since 1948.

Exhibition Co-Coordinator Fiona Howard told Quays News: “We’re all MA (Master of Arts) students on the Art Gallery and Museum course at The University of Manchester.

“The objects we are displaying are all from the Museum of Medicine and Health and they gave us, each group, a box of objects, and then from that box of objects we had to, each, create our own little exhibition.”

With a budget of £1,000, each stall exhibited a different aspect of the NHS, showing visitors how different old-fashioned objects, used for health and medicine, are today.

“Each stall’s got a different theme,” Howard said. “My stall that I’m on is in regard to the private sector and where the NHS has evolved from, and then how it might look like in the future.”

Stalls with themes of midwifery, paediatrics, doctor’s tools and nursing enriched the hall with plenty of information and objects, some of which that could be handled by the public.

“They’ve got modern day versions that you can handle, and then the objects are in a case,” Howard told Quays News.

Their most favourable object held the form of two glass eyes, which appeared differently than they had expected.

“We’ve got these two little glass eyes that everyone thinks are fantastic,” Howard said.”When we first got them we thought they’d be little spheres but they’re actually, sort of, a concave shape.”

“They’re actually really amazing. They look really real.

“We’ve also got some sort of more weird objects called speculums, which go up certain stuff and then open, so that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable but the eyes are definitely one of the more popular things.”

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Amongst the objects, the students of The University of Manchester saw that some of them are quite like what we have today, namely spectacles.

“We’ve got this little box of spectacles which are from the fifties and sixties but they’re really, sort of, current styles,” Howard said. “So, you’d see them in Specsavers and Vision Express and they’re not that different from what we wear now.”

The pop-up museum, which ran yesterday between 10am – 4pm filled the students of Manchester with pride as the exhibition came together perfectly.

“We’re going to be able to pack it up and it will be a nice relief that it’s finished,” said Howard. “But, we’re all really proud of how it’s turned out.”

 

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