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Hunterian Museum explores the science of disability

06 September 2011

Art exhibition Abnormal: Towards a Scientific Model of Disability will open at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons on Tuesday 13 September 2011, exploring how society’s beliefs about science and medicine have shaped people’s perception of disability and disabled people. Artist Ju Gosling aka ju90 will use digital imagery and installation to challenge the audience about what it means to be normal, in a colourful and playful way.

Abnormal will be visiting the Hunterian Museum on the final part of its national tour, and will feature a new installation called Memory Jar Collection which the artist has created in response to the museum’s collection of anatomical specimens. A pre-recorded audio description of the exhibition will be available for blind and partially sighted visitors and as a part of a programme of activities to widen access associated events will be both British Sign Language and transcribed via live speech-to-text.

Ju said:

“I am delighted to be showing my work within a museum which is so closely associated with the history of surgery and the study of anatomy. I hope that all visitors - disabled people, locally based artists and surgeons alike - are challenged by some of the pieces in the exhibition and are encouraged to think about their interpretation of what is normal.”

Jane Hughes, Head of Learning and Access at the Hunterian Museum, said:

“John Hunter’s historic collection of specimens on display at the Hunterian Museum is celebrated for its variety of unusual specimens, organised by disease, injury and illness. Ju Gosling’s exhibition challenges visitors to think more widely about the person behind the medical classification and how we have used science to shape our understanding of disability.”

A limited-edition hardback book is being published to accompany the exhibition - Abnormal: How Britain became body dysphoric and the key to a cure will be available from the museum shop. Further information about Abnormal: Towards a Scientific Model of Disability and related events Abnormal Conversation Disability and Medicine and Museums can be found here.

The exhibition results from Ju Gosling’s residency at the National Institute of Medical Research, and is supported by the Wellcome Trust.


Notes to Editor

1. Images available on request.
2. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808. For more information please visit
3. The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is based on the collections of the 18th-century surgeon John Hunter. Its permanent displays include over 3,500 specimens of human and animal anatomy and pathology, as well as exhibitions about surgery and medicine. The museum is open to all and admission is free. See:
4. Further information and images from Abnormal: Towards a Scientific Model of Disability can be found at Further information about Ju Gosling aka ju90 can be found at:
If you have any queries please contact:
- Matthew Worrall – Email:; T: 020 7869 6047
- Elaine Towell – Email:; T: 020 7869 6045
- Out-of-hours: 07966 486 83