Casting No Doubt: Plaster Heads in Victorian / Edwardian Science & Medicine

Aerial photo of four pairs of hands using different handheld smart devices

Dr Sam Alberti, Director of Museums and Archives, Royal College of Surgeons of England 

Science and medicine rely on extra-textual objects. From within the array of instruments, models, specimens and other material culture this paper will focus on a specific medium (plaster of Paris casts) and a specific anatomy (the human head). Examples from medicine, anthropology and anatomy will illustrate the particularities of the process of casting, the relationships between interior and exterior, between life and death. Museum stores to this day hold thousands of these widely reproduced and circulated casts, their quantity bewildering, their status ambiguous. Unpacking their significance as clinical and scientific records in the decades around 1900 is revealing.

Drinks will be served after the seminar, and all are welcome.


Humanities & Science

Medical Humanities

Diseases of Modern Life

Website: Diseases of Modern Life

Audience: Open to all