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Medical History Museum

Home > Melbourne > Free | Museums
Published October 31st 2011
An intriguing collection of amputation sets, old photographs, a nineteenth century pharmacy and more are showcased in the Medical History Museum.

An entire pharmacy, which one dispensed ailments to wealthy Londoners, has been plonked inside the museum. Established in about 1850, the Savory and Moore Pharmacy operated near Buckingham Palace for over a hundred years before being shipped to the Medical History Museum. The exhibit is kept as close as possible to the pharmacy's original set-up, complete with archaic equipment and nineteenth century medicines.

The Savory and Moore pharmacy.


Plenty of quirky relics of medical history are on show- entire display cases are dedicated to surgical tools and microscopes from as early as the 1800s. Vintage doctors' bags, pharmaceutical scales, and old stomach pumps are among the endless historical paraphernalia to peruse. There is even a collections of quackery items, including electrical vibrators which were once prescribed to women suffering hysteria, and pills spruiked as miracle cure-alls.

An old medicine chest on display at the Medical History Museum.


The museum, which is owned by the University of Melbourne, originally focused on just the history of Melbourne Medical School. However, the museum now encompasses the Australian Medical Association collection, which gives a more general history of local medicine.

Located on level two of Melbourne University's Brownless Biomedical Library, the museum welcomes both students and members of the public to view the extensive collection. The free exhibition is open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. If you've planned your trip in advance and want to squeeze more knowledge out of the experience, you can book a guided tour of the museum.

There are plenty more fascinating things to see at Melbourne University- they boast endless cultural collections relating to studies offered at the university. Rare books, historic maps and historic music instruments are just a few of the collections available for perusal by the general public.
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Why? To indulge your macabre interest in blood-letting apparatus.
When: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
Where: Brownless Biomedical Library, University of Melbourne, Grattan Street, Parkville 3010.
Cost: Free
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