Year 9 visit Thackray Museum of Medicine

Review by Kelly Yau, Year 9

“On 12th October 2023, we had the opportunity to step into the past and experience 19th Century Britain at the incredible Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds. It was such an unforgettable experience! Upon entering the museum, I was immediately captivated by the stunning architecture and the colour virus-shaped pendant lights. As we made our way through the museum, we saw a variety of exhibits and interactive displays, from vintage surgical instruments to medical textbooks from different eras. It was fascinating to see the advances and progression in medicine over the years.

One of the highlights of my visit was watching the gruesome operations taking place in a 19th Century operating theatre before the discovery of anaesthetics. We saw a surgeon using a coping saw to cut off a girl’s leg! It was interesting to learn about the development of surgery and understand how pain, infection and blood loss in surgery have been solved.

I especially enjoyed walking through the recreated grimy streets of Victorian Leeds (Disease Street). Here, we were taken back in time to the crowded and unsanitary living conditions of the era, allowing me to truly understand the challenges faced by the people of that time. We even saw an extremely realistic pig being slaughtered and a girl having her arm amputated with blood splattering everywhere. The smell and sight was so unbearable that my friends wanted to throw up the sandwich that they just finished!

There was one important figure in the museum, John Snow, about whom we had already learnt in History lessons. He was crucial to the development of anaesthesia and medical hygiene. Thanks to him we now know the importance of clean water! It was inspiring to learn about the dedication of scientists and the impact they had on the field of healthcare.

Lastly, we visited a souvenir shop where I bought a syringed-shaped pen!

Our visit to the Thackray Museum was an enriching experience that helped us enhance our knowledge and further understand what we are studying in History!”

As a student, you are the most amazing discovery you will ever make.

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