People's History of the NHS

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  • 29
  • JUN

Donating to the Museum of the Royal College of Physicians

by Roberta Bivins

The RCP Museum needs YOU!

As Kristin Hussey has written in her blog, the Museum of the RCP is urgently seeking to develop its collections on medicine in the NHS era. Below, Kristin explains what they especially would like to collect and how to go about donating in a bit more detail:

We are particularly interested in collecting items like:

  • Insulin injectors and pumps
  • Medical education models
  • Hearing aids
  • Boxes and packaging for vaccines, antibiotics and antivirals
  • Testing kits for blood, DNA and urine
  • Items related to blood transfusions and organ donations
  • Items related to respiratory health, including those used by patients suffering from asthma or tuberculosis, or preventative equipment against air pollution.
  • Items related to cancer treatment.
  • Copies of X-rays, MRIs and CT-scans (only where patient’s permission has been obtained)
  • Items related to antiseptic and a-septic protocols
  • Items which show changes in treatments
  • Items which show changes in diagnostic techniques
  • Items or artworks produced by patients (for example during chemotherapy or during hospital stays)

There are some restrictions to what we can collect. Large items, fragile or broken items, hazardous items will likely not be appropriate for a museum collection. In particular, we can’t collect human remains, mercury or anything flammable. We cannot collect controlled drugs and would need to carefully assess the possible dangers of any chemicals. While we would love to collect large medical equipment, due to space restrictions we are only able to accept small items (approx. 40cm2 ).

If you are interesting in donating something to the Royal College of Physicians related to the NHS, please email history@rcplondon.ac.uk with the following information:

  • Your details (Name, contact information)
  • An image of the item
  • A description of the item
  • Details of how you came to own the item
  • Details of any personal stories connected to the item
  • Approximate measurements

All potential donations are then presented to the LAMS Management Committee and assessed against our Collections Development Policy and a significance criteria chart. Successful donors will be contacted and delivery of objects to RCP arranged. Once acquired, the objects will form a part of the permanent collection of our accredited museum. Potential donations should not been sent directly to the RCP. Any items received will be returned to the senders where a return address is supplied. If no return address is given, items will be held for 6 months and if not claimed may be disposed of.

The Royal College of Physicians Museum is an accredited, public museum with permanent displays and a programme of changing temporary displays, tours and events. We are free and open to the public Monday to Friday, 9-5, with late openings the first Thursday of every month. For more information on us and our 500th anniversary – please visit https://history.rcplondon.ac.uk/. You can also follow us on twitter, facebook and Instagram @rcpmuseum.

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