Paris: Musée de l’histoire de la médecine

Museums of Medicine

One of my main goals for this trip was researching the possibility of a student trip in 2012. I spent, therefore, a good bit of the trip doing the practicum: that is, I was attempting to master logistics of travel, lodging, food and incidentals. Once I had sorted out which Metro stations students would need to know, where best to purchase tickets,  and whether the hostel would be hospitable, I still needed to trace out a museum tour. I was once again greatly helped in this quest by Dr. Edmonson, who–rather like my EIC Woody Gaines–knows and is known by everyone. (A joke among the staff of CMP is that Dr. Gaines does not just know stuff, he knows the president of stuff–Dr. Edmonson is of a kind). Through his help, I was introduced to the Musée de l’histoire de la médecine, which is actually located inside the Université Paris Descartes. It is on the upper floor, a fabulous room of Victorian appeal, rich wood and fascinating  exhibitions.

The Musée de l’histoire de la médecine is curated by Marie-Véronique Clin-Meyer, president of the European Association of Museums of the History of the Medical Sciences and hosted the Council meeting in her museum in the past. It will be a good introduction for the students, who will also be visiting the Musée Flaubert et d’histoire de la médecine, where one of the original birthing phantoms of Madame du Coudray is still housed. A further benefit of Mme Clin-Meyer’s museum, however, is the artwork. There as a number of very interesting paintings housed there, including a large canvas marking the opening of Jean Martin Charcot’s lecture in 1882. The painting is described in the museum’s visitor booklet, which describes these lectures and Charcot’s election to chair of nervous diseases as the dawn of neurology.

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