Did you know surgery was once a popular form of entertainment?
They took the “theatre” in “operating theatre” quite literally! People were there pretty much for the drama (and the gore of course). We were surprised by this fact too, as well as other interesting findings on our recent trip to Thackray Medical Museum.
Our visit was based around the Medicine Through Time topic that is part of our History GCSE, and it really was fascinating, illustrating what we have learnt in a vivid way. One activity was an engaging surgical workshop where we were immersed into what it would have been like experiencing a real-time surgery in all its glory, including the pungent smells, and the variety of risks that would accompany it during the 18th century (a surgery with no anaesthetics or antiseptics-what could possibly go wrong?).
What we loved most was the fact that it really helped us understand what people were experiencing more. The interactive visuals and learning about characters based off real people helped us imagine what life must have felt like before all the health and safety measures that we take for granted today were implemented. It really is quite important to understand that history isn’t just about key people who made significant discoveries but also their impact on those who were severely affected by illnesses daily, and the medical developments made to improve their lives. There truly was emphasis on “people” in “Health and the People” because it is all about the demands of and changing attitudes of the people that enabled progress to happen and continue to happen. The museum celebrated all of these achievements, including the work of the NHS. One of our friends said that it was “one of the greatest trips” of their life, and they, just like us, would love to visit again.
Thank you to the staff who supervised us and the History department for organising the trip! And many thanks of course to the museum for having us!
Written by Gloria & Preet, AGGS Media Team