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Pharmacy as a Laboratory of Modernity

Pharmacy can be identified as a laboratory of modernity: the cultural, scientific and medical practices of making and consuming medicines unite modernity’s master narratives of medical, scientific and industrial innovation with cultural production. Working with the curators and experts of the Wellcome Medical Collections at the Science Museum in London, Barry Murnane's project will focus on the material dimensions of medical therapy to tell the history of medicines and the technological, economic, and cultural conditions of their discovery and delivery. Focusing especially on the treatment of lung disease in the nineteenth century through the lens of the smallest of objects and simplest of technologies (pills, steam, inhalation devices) can enable powerful and provocative accounts of both the private and socio-historical dimensions of medicine.

As Science Museum Research Fellow he will spend the first half of 2016 in the Science Museum’s new Research Centre where he will be working in partnership with the museum’s curators while they redesign their Medical History display (due for completion in 2019). Alongside this major long-term project, activities will include workshops with lung-disease stakeholders and education specialists, outreach sessions, and public events during 2016. Finally they will aim to develop a web presence with a view to finding new forms of disseminating research on pharmaceutical history.

Click here to view the Digital Dispensary website.