Audio content from Brought to Life

    Explore the history of medicine through the audio content from the Brought to Life website.

    The audio descriptions below focus on the history and significance of an important object for each of the themes from Brought to Life.  

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    Belief: The model of the Asklepion

    Model of the Asklepion

    When the ancient Greeks were ill, they would visit the local Asklepion, a shrine to the Greek god of healing, Asklepios.

    Diseases: Pomanders


    In the 1500s and 1600s, pomanders were used to combat poisonous vapours, or miasma, believed to cause disease and illness.

    Hospitals: Hospital fund model

    Model of a hospital

    In the 1930s this minature hospital toured the country. It was an eye-catching way of showing the work of modern hospitals to the public.

    Practicing Medicine: Nurse's kit

    Nurse's kit

    A nurse owned this kit, and used it when visiting patient’s homes. It contains syringes, pipettes, a measuring cylinder, and some empty bottles.

    Public health: Hygiene models

    Hygiene models

    These miniature pipes, sewerage fittings, toilets and wash basins were used to demonstrate good and bad practice for public hygiene in 1895.

    Science: Lister's microscope

    Lister's microscope

    Before Joseph Lister developed his achromatic lens in 1826, the microscope was not fully accepted as a reliable tool for medical research.

    Surgery: Amputation saw

    Amputation saw

    This ornate saw would have impressed patients – a kind of status symbol, but the lavish decoration harboured germs, risking further infection.

    Treatments & cures: Iron lung

    Iron lung

    This iron lung kept sufferers of polio alive when they struggled to breathe. It was a lifesaver, but also a terrifying confinement.

    Understanding the body: Vesalius

    Vesalius' book De Humani Corporis Fabrica

    Vesalius' book De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) revealed the hidden mysteries of the human body through dissection.

    War & medicine: Artificial leg

    Artificial right leg, Singapore, c.1943

    The owner of this leg was a prisoner of war during the Second World War. It was made from aircraft parts by their comrades within the camp.