Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Simon Chaplin : Doctors and the Death of History

This Friday the Cleveland Medical Library Association (original parent body of the Dittrick) will host Simon Chaplin, new Head of the Wellcome Library (Wellcome Trust) in London. Simon’s talk, Doctors and the Death of History, will explore the tricky balancing act confronting medical libraries with important historical collections:

Is medical history dying? As health libraries struggle to balance the needs of 'legacy' collections with the demand for modern information services, what role is there for historical research? How might historical collections become the medium for public engagement, as a resource that can inform, inspire and entertain those who have come to depend upon the benefits of modern medical science? Drawing on the example of the Wellcome Library, one of the world's greatest medical collections, Dr Simon Chaplin offers an insight in to the future of history in medical libraries.

Transforming collections, and the perception of these collections, as found at the Wellcome – and at the Dittrick – according to Chaplin, calls for “new strategies - to foster an awareness of the utility of a historical perspective among medical practitioners; to enthuse students by making history relevant to their curricula; to look beyond a traditional audience of retired clinicians at a wider academic community - of cultural, social and economic historians; historians of art and literature; of researchers in medical humanities, arts and social sciences.”

Dr. Simon Chaplin is Head of the Wellcome Library at the Wellcome Trust, one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history. Dr. Chaplin read Natural Sciences at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge (1988-1991), and subsequently worked at the Science Museum (1992-1998) in London. Most recently, he was Director of Museums and Special Collections at The Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Hunterian Museum (RCSE), reopened Feb 2005, finalist for the distinguished Gulbenkian Prize in 2006.

The lecture begins at 6:00PM on Friday in the Ford Auditorium of the Allen Memorial Medical Library (11000 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland), followed by a reception in the Cushing Reading Room. Open gratis to one and all. If attending, please RSVP to Dzwinka Holian at 368-3642 or

Jim Edmonson

p.s. also, check out the Wellcome Library's great blog

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