Just back from the Royal Berkshire Medical Museum. I’ve been there before but I always seem to forget just what a hidden treasure it is. Tucked away in an old laundry room (Grade 2 listed), the museum is packed with fascinating stories and objects. The key ‘object’ is the glass jar of living leeches that are ‘fed’ by the team of volunteers.
The museum is run by former members of staff on a voluntary basis. The current display was made possible by HLF funding in 2008 and the look is the result of a collaboration with local designer Martin Andrews. I know Martin from the 2005 Ure Museum redesign, and his ability to bring objects to life with a low key and low cost bit of theatricality makes him a really inspiring guy to work with. Take for example this low tech bit of reconstruction.
However, the real stars are the objects. Weird, wonderful and a bit disturbing. One member of our group briefly looked up and started laughing at the faces everybody else was pulling. I love a museum that provokes a gut reaction (pun intended) and the universal subject of the body and medicine means that everybody has some kind of response.
The museum is hard to get to and has limited opening hours but try to get to it if you can. It’s often open on weekends and is to the left hand side of the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s neo-classical facade on London Road (NB no parking but good bus links). Rather than rabbit on about it I thought I would add some photos for those who might not get to see inside. Enjoy…