The 12 days of Christmas (well sort of)…Part 4

Here’s the final installment of our festive 4-parter – the 12 days of Christmas re-worked with items from our collections. Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 as well.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

10 Lords a-Leaping

You won’t be surprised to learn that there is a large amount of memorabilia in the collection relating to famous Lords.

Lord Nuffield, also known as William Morris is best remembered for work in car manufacturing. He was also a philanthropist and donated some of the first iron lungs to many British hospitals in the 1950s.

Iron lung donated by Lord Nuffield to Memorial Hospital Darlington (A683097, Science Museum, London)

Iron lungs were used in the treatment of polio and patients could be encapsulated from anything from a few hours to the rest of their life.

For some other Lord memorabilia, how about Lord Nelson’s fatal wound, a  mobility chair invented by Lord Snowdon, or some invaluable advice from Lord Kitchener. How many others can you find lurking in the museum’s collection?

11 Pipers Piping

It’s not very often you find a piper in the collection but this collecting box features the famous Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Pied Piper collecting box for polio (1994-70, Science Museum, London)

The legend of the Pied Piper was famous for luring rats from Hamelin. Rats carry a number of diseases including TB, E.coli as well as being transporters for the bubonic plague. During bouts of plague, amulets would circulate offering protection from the dreaded disease.

Amulet for protection against plague, Bavaria, 1690-1710 (A666092, Science Museum, London)

12 Drummers Drumming

Drums feature in a number of scientific and medical apparatus for recording data. This drum was used to diagnose an eye condition called optic nystagmus. This causes involuntary movements of the eye, usually from side to side. By rotating the drum an ophthalmologist can assess how the eyes work in unison and separately.

Drum for diagnosing eye conditions, (A662690, Science Museum, London)

We hope you’ve enjoyed our slightly odd interpretation of the 12 days of Christmas – it has certainly made us look at our objects in an entirely new light. Have a very merry Christmas!

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