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

February 4th marks World Cancer Day. Alongside surgery, chemotherapy and hormone treatment, radiotherapy has been a mainstay of cancer treatment for well over 100 years. Just weeks after Wilhelm Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays in 1895, student doctors began experimenting with the mysterious rays to treat cancer, and other conditions such as ringworm. By the 1920s, x-ray generators weren’t capable of making the intense beams of radiation needed to treat certain tumours. Hospitals turned to experimenting with radioactive materials such as radium. […]

Whether its Santa Claus, Kris Kringle or Father Christmas, we have quite a fixed  image (soft-drink company influenced?) in our heads of what the man delivering presents down the chimney should look like. But could this be what the original ‘Santa’ really looked like…? This rather charming tabbarded fellow in our collections is Saint Nicholas. He looks distinctly un-santa-esque because he was in fact the Bishop of Myra (now south-west Turkey) during the third century. Pictured with three children, it’s not surprising to […]

It’s that time of year again – time to bellow “five go-oold rings” at the top of your voice. We’ve put together a Christmas cracker of a treat for you with our own alternative version of the Twelve Days of Christmas On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… A partridge in a pear tree Well – a sauce container shaped like a partridge at any rate. A rather fetching centrepiece for the festive dinner table […]

Oh we all love a royal wedding. With memorabilia manufacturers wasting no time to issue commemorative souvenirs featuring Prince William and his future missus, Kate Middleton, it’s an opportune moment to examine a few monarchical mementoes from our own collections… Mugs to celebrate the marriage of Charles, HRH Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer, were presented to child patients at the Lord Mayor Treloar Orthopaedic Hospital, Alton, England. I’m rather a fan of this royal silhouette vase (Can you see it? Can […]

There are some stories you read in the press that you immediately react to as a curator. For me recently it was reading about the first UK Service of Dedication for lives lost to eating disorders that took place at Southwark Cathedral. Sensing an acquisition in sight, I contacted b-eat – a UK charity for people with eating disorders – to get hold of a copy of the Order of Service. Eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa […]

The Science Museum might not be the first place you think of when you hear the word sex, but we’ve got lots of artefacts from all over the world designed both to titillate and to treat sexual dysfunction and infertility. Some even claim to cast a love spell (Brian Cox watch out – I have the power…). To add to this collection we’ve been working with Jonathan Roberts, lecturer at Mount Saint Vincent University, to make some new acquisitions. Jonathan’s been […]