Ivan A. Grinko1,
Anna A. Shevtsova2
1 SAIC “MOSGORTUR”
9 Ogorodnaya Sloboda lane, building 1, Moscow 101000, Russia
2 Moscow State Pedagogical University (MSPU)
88 avenue Vernadskogo, Moscow 119571, Russia
This paper analyses ways in which traumatic material has been displayed in medical exhibitions and the use of age restrictions in museums. Museum workers face the difficult task of exhibiting material that could be psychologically traumatic for certain visitors, and this is particularly the case for medical museums, given that the raison d’etre of medicine is to fight diseases, images of which it is not pleasant to see. Two key approaches to displaying such material in exhibition space are examined. In the first, focusing on the technical aspect, access to certain elements potentially psychologically traumatic for visitors is restricted through original architectural and spatial solutions, using anthropometric restrictions in some cases. The second, based on cultural studies and anthropology, presents diseases through cultural and historical images. This approach offers the museum a broad range of options (use of classical objects of culture, ethnographic images of diseases, thematic lettering, etc.). This paper uses field materials from Russian and foreign museums, as well as ethnographic research findings. The authors conclude that organising a permanent exhibition of material with different age designations is realistically achievable: all that is required is intelligent spatial planning.
Keywords: history of medicine, museum, medical museum, exposition, age marking, museum ethics