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Hospital for drowned books

Posted Aug 25 2010 4:03am

Monday morning when the conservator arrived at the Medical Museion, and went down to the basement to continue her work on some damaged bones from the collection, she found herself standing in water up to her ankles.

Like in many other parts of Zealand the heavy rains on Saturday had unexpected and unpleasant consequences for the Medical Museion. By far the largest part of the medical machines, historic books on health and hospital curios of the Medical Museion collection is kept in store rooms and basements around the buildings, out of the public eye. There simply isn’t enough room on the exhibitions.

20kg     billeder til tørre      bøger i pressen

The flood alert sounded around the Medical Museion. Hundred year old black and white photographs looked like autumn leaves, as they lay spread out on tables to dry. Books where put in drying cabinets, or pressed under lead weights.

The rooms of the museum turned, one after the other, into hospital wards for the drowned books and objects. The water was swept back into the drains with brooms. Meanwhile scientific research and museum planning continued on the top floors.

Perhaps this experience of the vulnerability of the medical objects will provide new ideas for the research into our own biodegradable materiality in the upcoming conference about healthy ageing. When it comes to aging doctors and medical scientist are, in a way, conservators working with the fabric of the human body.

For more pictures of the drowned objects visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53284874@N02/

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