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Vaccination: Medicine and the masses

Tuesday 19 April to Saturday 17 September
Qvist Gallery, Hunterian Museum. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm. Free.

From our early days to our advancing years vaccination is a routine part of healthcare in Britain. Nationwide vaccination programmes for everything from whooping cough to the HPV virus help prevent us from getting sick and vaccination is being used to fight an increasing number of diseases. However there has also been a long history of resistance to state sponsored programmes of vaccination.

This exhibition charts the ever-changing relationship between the medical profession and the public through this controversial topic, highlighting the contributions of laypeople to the development of vaccination as well as the ways in which the public have resisted its use.

This exhibition and its supporting events are part of the Constructing Scientific Communities project and have been generously supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council:


images: (detail) 'The Cowpox Tragedy' George Cruikshank, 1812 (RCSSC/P 3160)


War, Art and Surgery: Work by Julia Midgley

Levy Cases, Inner Hall. Open Monday – Friday 9am–5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm. Free.

Art Cases, Hunterian Museum. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm. Free.

A changing selection of artworks by reportage artist Julia Midgley will be displayed in the foyer cases of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS). They have been selected from over 150 works Midgley made over eighteen months observing military surgical training and rehabilitation at Headley Court, York, RCS and other sites. These examples will be exchanged every few months to demonstrate the diversity of her work which can also be seen in in the main exhibition of War, Art and Surgery in the Hunterian Museum.

The exhibitions at the Hunterian are complemented by an accompanying book available to purchase in the museum and online.

Surgeons, the Great War and the RCS

Ground Floor Corridor. Open Monday – Friday 9am–5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm. Free

The RCS holds in its collections a number of portraits of surgeons who served in the military, and to commemorate their contribution during the First World War six have been selected and are on display on the ground floor of the College.

All were knighted for their role in improving medical provision for the army; four served as Presidents of the RCS, and one as Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery. 

These are only six of the tens of thousands of medical officers, nurses, orderlies and stretcher bearers who contributed to the life-saving work of the medical services during the Great War

Archive facsimile displays

The library and College archives contain a wealth of material related both to surgery and more unusual subjects. A changing display of facsimile materials will reflect key national themes across the year.

Library displays can be seen Monday  Friday 9.30am-5.30pm (call 020 7869 6555 before making a special visit).

Displays in the ground floor cabinets can be viewed Monday 
 Saturday 10am-5pm. Free to visit.

Past exhibitions and displays

Find out more about all previous exhibitions in our Exhibitions archive.