Wright Jr, James R, Alberti, S J M M, Lyons, Christopher and Fraser, Richard S (2018) Maude Abbott and the origin and mysterious disappearance of the Canadian Medical War Museum. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

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Abstract

From the mid-1960s a new breed of scientific instrument curators emerged in the United Kingdom. This small community of practice developed in parallel to but Context.—In the early 1900s, it was common practice to retain, prepare, and display instructive pathologic specimens to teach pathology to medical trainees and practitioners; these collections were called medical museums. Maude Abbott established her reputation by developing expertise in all aspects of medical museum work. She was afounder of the International Association of Medical Museums (later renamed the International Academy of Pathology) and became an internationally renowned expert on congenital heart disease. Her involvement in the Canadian Medical War Museum (CMWM) is less well known.
Objective.—To explore Abbott’s role in the development of the CMWM during and after World War I and to trace its history.
Design.—Available primary and secondary historical
sources were reviewed.
Results.—Instructive pathologic specimens derived from
Canadian soldiers dying during World War I were shipped
to the Royal College of Surgeons in London, which served
as a clearinghouse for museum specimens from Dominion
forces. The Canadian specimens were repatriated to
Canada, prepared by Abbott, and displayed at several
medical meetings. Abbott, because she was a woman,
could not enlist and so she reported to a series of enlisted
physicians with no expertise in museology. Plans for a
permanent CMWM building in Ottawa eventually failed
and Abbott maintained the collection at McGill (Montreal,
Quebec, Canada) until her death in 1940. We trace the
CMWM after her death.
Conclusions.—Sadly, after Abbott had meticulously
prepared these precious teaching specimens so that their
previous owners’ ultimate sacrifice would continue to help
their military brethren, the relics were bureaucratically
lost.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Early Online Release: Full text available via the official URL.
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
A General Works > AS Academies and learned societies (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1001 Canada (General)
R Medicine > RD Surgery
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Theme: Material culture: creation and use
Department: Science and Technology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ross Anderson
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2018 14:38
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2018 14:55
URI: http://repository.nms.ac.uk/id/eprint/2124

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