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Music in the Museum

A collaboration of classical music and medical humanities at QMUL, introducing an audience to new subjects and topics through performance and talks.

Music in the Museum
  • School/Institute/Department: Barts Pathology Museum, School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • Subjects: Pathology, Music, Medical Humanities, Medicine
  • Audience: General Public

Barts Pathology Museum houses over 5,000 medical specimens, representing a wide range of medical conditions through the ages. Based in St Bartholomew’s Hospital, the museum’s staff are looking to use the collection to explore a range of issues across medicine and medical humanities, and in particular to the public, through a programme of events and guided tours.

One way in which they are looking to appeal to new and different audiences is through a collaborative event with the QMUL Music Society, in which a classical music concert will be performed within the museum.

By holding a classical music concert within the pathology museum they hope to broaden their appeal and attract a different audience demographic, compared to the one that normally attends their tours and events programme.

These new audiences will be engaged with both music and medical history as the Director of Music and concert composer, Paul Edlin, will ask the audience questions about the pieces being played, while museum staff will take the opportunity to talk about the museum’s main mission to break down the barriers when talking about death, disease and the display of human pathology.  The plan is to offer an unusual evening, but in a relaxed and informal manner.

Visitors will be encouraged to engage with the museum and explore the specimens around them throughout the event, with ample opportunity to talk to museum staff about their experiences. The legacy of this event is hoped to be in increased interest in the museum’s themes from different audiences, and increased understanding between different subject areas both within and outside the university. Eventually it is hoped to encourage junior researchers to present their research work to the public. The museum is the ideal venue and format of engagement to bring these events to the public.

It is hoped that this will be demonstrated through increased numbers signing up to the museum mailing list (you can do this by emailing bartspathology@qmul.ac.uk) and audience members returning for future events. A concert in such an unusual venue will attract public attention and raise the profile of both the museum and the Institution.

The Barts Pathology Museum is an ongoing project that has seen audience numbers total over 17,000 since starting. For more information on the museum you can visit their website or join their mailing list.

The Music in the Museum night was funded by a CPE small award.

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