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Katie is a Curator, specialising in the medicine collections at the Science Museum.

A while ago the Science Museum took part in a project called First Time Out – where museums put on display a ‘treasure’ from their stored collections that had never before been seen in public. Well we’re giving it a go again – but this time the project is larger than ever. Ten museums, from all over England, have paired up to swap objects from their collections, with the Science Museum partnering with the Discovery Museum in Newcastle (a great […]

Collecting stuff is generally the bit I like most about my job. That’s probably why I’ve got a bit over excited about the new acquisitions we’ve made related to synthetic biology – from no other than Tom Knight widely described as the “father” of the discipline. Synthetic biology is research that combines biology and engineering. Sounds like genetic engineering by another name? Well yes, but it goes much further. It looks to create new biological functions not found in nature, […]

One bottle is a killer. The other is entirely safe. They’re identical in every other way – indeed from the same manufacturing batch. This new acquisition was donated by Professor Barry Cookson, former Director of the Laboratory of Healthcare Associated Infection, HPA. But what happened to make one so deadly and the other not? These bottles of dextrose are sad reminders of the life and death hunt for 500 similar bottles in March 1972. Five patients died at the Devonport Hospital […]

The third and final installment of Miranda Bud’s blogs…  The Watson and Crick discovery of the DNA double helix is an iconic image of our scientific age. It is considered the milestone of contemporary genetics and is such an integrated part of our society that saying “it’s in my DNA” is a commonly used phrase by many people. Working with Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin they unlocked the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century. It led to countless advances, solved […]

The second installment of Miranda Bud’s blogs…  The majority of people will need to wear some form of glasses at some point of their lives, and I am no exception. I was fascinated therefore to discover the treasure trove of old spectacles frames and lenses hidden away in the basement of Blythe. The most striking thing about the majority of these spectacles was their size. The glasses have tiny lenses which I can imagine were quite difficult to see through. The […]

In the next few blogs Miranda Bud, a work experience student, gives us an account of the objects that have sparked her imagination over the last few days… Before coming to the Science Museum I’d never heard of an iron lung, let alone seen one. My first day at Blythe I was intrigued by the huge coffin like contraption used predominantly during the polio outbreaks of the 1940s and 1950s. The first form of life-support, it was invented in America […]

On Saturday I had tickets to see the Men’s Road Race competition. It was terrifically exciting as they zoomed nine times round Box Hill. Shame about the result but ho hum. In recent times Britain has become bike mad. Bicycle bits crop up a surprising amount of times – in rather unusual ways – in the medical collections.  So even if it all goes wrong for Bradley Wiggins in the time trial (and fingers crossed not!)- here’s some ideas to put his bike to good use to: […]

We have some amazing volunteers doing fantastic work helping us uncover more about our collections. Regina and Alix started volunteering with the Science Museum in October 2011, and are currently working on a project to catalogue the museum’s extensive microscope slide collections. Here’s the first in a series of blogs they’ve written to let you know more about what they’ve discovered in the basement of our store at Blythe House… Imagine a room full to the brim with curious wooden […]

Wrapped up beneath these bandages is a mummified animal. How did it die? What material is it wrapped in? Are there amulets we can’t see inside? Is it an animal at all – could they be human remains? To answer question like these and more, the Science Museum is collaborating in a new nationwide project analysing the remains of ancient Egyptian animals. Led by researchers at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, the Ancient Egyptian Animal Biobank project is aiming to scan, sample […]

Valentine’s Day is like herpes: just when you think its gone for good, it  rears its ugly head once more (and perhaps it’s no coincidence its initials are the same as Veneral Disease?). Are you cringing from all the cutesy declarations of love? Avoiding all aphrodisiacs (including heart-shaped vegetables – no seriously they exist!)? Well here’s some suggestions from our collections of what not to give the love of your life on VD day… 1. Cosmetic Enhancement. Breast pads to enhance cleavage, cork discs to plump […]