First Impressions, guest blog by Amanda Bailey


My name is Amanda Bailey and I’m studying English Literature at the University of Worcester.  I’m in my third year and I’m at George Marshall Medical Museum (GMMM) on a work placement. Being unsure of what direction I want to head in when I finish my degree I thought some work experience was good idea. So here I am!

The museum houses a large and interesting collection charting the development of medicine and the medical profession. It is small and modern in design with glass cases on both sides which house the many interesting objects. The size and layout make the museum experience really intimate which is great for its subject matter. The exhibits are so close that all the detail can be seen, some of these will make your eyes water (the obstetrics cabinet) and some will make you gasp (again the obstetrics cabinet).

Take a look in the orthopaedics cabinet.  The items in this display are intriguing, they look so dated compared to the modern prosthetics in use today, yet these replacements were still being used in the 1990s. Having previously worked on the trauma and orthopaedics ward and witnessing knee replacement surgery I find the display fascinating. It’s a reminder of how fast the medical profession progresses. 

The dentistry cabinet holds many delights for those of us who need to satisfy our macabre curiosity. Items and historical facts that give us a frisson of excitement when we look and read about them: dental keys, ‘used to prise teeth from their sockets’ and the all-important dentists’ drill. Yet more macabre, look closely and see teeth removed from bodies on the battlefield, set into metal frames to create dentures ready for their new wealthy owners!

I came to the museum to get an of idea of working in the heritage sector, I love museums, art galleries and all things cultural and I thought work experience in this area would be enjoyable and beneficial. However, it’s not just about enjoying myself, it turns out I can’t just wander around the displays, smelling herbs and potions in the apothecary and trying on the nursing costumes, I had to do some work as well! Luckily this was also a lot of fun. So far, I have devised and presented ‘Happiness in a Box’ – a well-being and mindfulness inspired activity where visitors were asked to think of something that made them happy; a holiday, a pet, a sporting moment and then recreate this as a diorama in a box or jar. The results were fabulous, really inventive with some great engineering.

I have also designed a creative writing task to go into the museum’s activity ‘backpack’. I’m now working on a heart themed activity ready for half term next year. So, work can be fun and engaging, but of course behind the scenes a lot of work goes in to preparing and organising events and activities.

I’m gaining a behind the scenes insight and beginning to understand the heritage world as a perspective employee. There is so much to learn and understand and I’ve been really lucky to have such a great opportunity.

Just what the doctor ordered!