Disease reflects history, and if a country is healthy then it is usually happy. So as a medical student, I find it intriguing when visiting a place to explore the medical history surrounding it as a way to get insight into the past of a place. Whether it is the sites of famous discoveries, former hospitals or anatomical museums, some of these places contain fascinating underground information that you may not otherwise understand. But beware, many of these are not for the faint hearted!
(Photo from Barts Pathology Museum)
This really is one of the classics! With a huge range of specimens (including a judicial hanging and the bound feet of a Chinese woman) this museum is an interesting ride through the history of London and the world’s health. It’s pretty hard to get in though and the general public will need to be attending one of the scheduled events to be able to access it. Check out their website here for a full list of upcoming events. These events may not be in your backpacker budget unless you’re willing to splurge.
Address: 3rd Floor Robin Brook Centre, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield
Opening Hours: Only open for special events
Admission Price: Depends on the event
(Photo from Royal College of Surgeons)
This museum contains a huge array of specimens in the collection, both human and non-human. Around 3500 of the specimens are from John Hunter’s original collection (including the famous popliteal aneurysm specimen). As this is a part of the Royal College of Surgeons, there is also a collection of surgical instruments from throughout history – and they will certainly make you thankful for the advancements that we have today! For a look at their collections, have a look at their website here.
Address: The Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission Price: free (yay)
(Photo from Ecole Nationale des Vétérinaires)
One of the oldest museums in France, this Parisian gem is a part of the Ecole Nationale des Vétérinaires and showcases a whole bunch of collections from mainly animals. However, there are also human species including fetuses and human busts which can be unsettling. There are various aspects to this museum including a pet section, pathology and the cabinet of curiosities.
Address: 7 avenue du Général de Gaulle, Maisons-Alfort
Opening Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm – 6pm
Admission Price: €7
(Photo from Laika on WikiCommon)
This museum is all about parasites, and with over 60,000 specimens this is definitely worth a visit! There is a lot of educational information and movies present when viewing the collections, so you will learn a lot during your visit.
Address: 4-1-1, Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission Price: free (donations recommended)
(Photo from Destination NSW)
Located in the University of New South Wales, this museum focuses largely on diseases that affect humans and how to avoid them. It’s open to the general public and is fairly cheap. The museum houses over 2000 specimens! With a major focus on education and learning, it is a great way to learn more about the human body. For more information, check out their website here.
Address: Ground Floor, Samuels Building, The University of New South Wales, Corner of High & Botany St, Kensington
Opening Hours: weekdays 10am – 4pm
Admission Price: $10 ($5 concession)