Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Seeking Collectors of Medical Curiosities, Ephemera, or Artifacts!

As some of you already know, I recently mounted an exhibition called Anatomical Theatre: Depictions of The Body, Disease, and Death in Medical Museums of the Western World, a photographic survey (see above) of artifacts held in great medical museums of Europe and the United States. This blog is an offshoot of that project.

For my next project, I would like to photograph similar types of curiosities, ephemera, and artifacts, but in this case only those residing in private rather than public collections. If any of you out there have collections that you think might be of interest, or know of anyone else who might, I would love to hear from you. All leads appreciated! All locations considered!

Thanks! You can email me at


Ophelia Chong said...

good morning Joanna

i have a collection here of teeth, ephemera, photos (bound feet etc.)

I still have to send you my photograph of the six fingered sailor.

:O) Ophelia

Anonymous said...

phenomenal site. thank-you so much.

T. Herling said...

You ought to look into Cornell University's "Hall of Brains," which is exactly as it sounds.

I had some students who did a documentary ("Who Put the 'Corn' in Cornell") that included that.

They also have a "Poisonous Plants" garden.

purplenails said...

I saw your project listed in Boing Boing and thought I would drop a line. I collect medical curiousities and ephemera... it has been a hobby of mine for many years and has creeped out many a visitor to my home. I tend to lean a bit toward to more *ahem* embarrassing things out of fun, though I do have standard things like glass syringes, etc. Quack machines [2 violet wands 1 from early 1900s and another from late 1800s], bakelite anal dilators, glass vial sealed sutures, various medicines both quack and pharm [no later than the 40s], eugenics textbooks, a medical dictionary from the Paris Hospital, France 1930's, ortho bone saw, stainless steel mouth gag, etc. even over to owning a bottle of tissue rebuilder for funerary purposes and a nice bottle of embalming fluid. [impulse finds what can I say?]

The only actual body parts I own are my own [my mother gave me my baby teeth] but I put them in with the rest of it all. =)

Sounds like a fun project, just thought I'd pass along information about my own little collection of morbidity.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
You may want to take a trip to Seattle to my friend Steve Bard's house. He has very interesting things in his house. It was boing boinged a few years ago.

Here is one site featuring his home.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Matthew said...

if you haven't already, you should check out the dentistry museum in chicago. lots of dusty back rooms filled with strange dentistry paraphernalia.

SocialNetworking said...

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