The annual clean-out day at the Panum Institute, which houses the Medical Faculty of the University of Copenhagen, took place last week. With the sun shining from at clear blue sky and temperatures rising to the high twenties, employees at the Panum Institute went on a building-wide cleaning spree. And just like last year, Medical Museion was in position, lurking around garbage containers, ready to rescue the cultural heritage of recent biomedicine from certain destruction.
The clean-out day in 2007 produced in excess of 48 tons of waste. The numbers from this year are not in yet, but it is clear that we were nowhere near that amount. For Medical Museion, the day also resulted in the acquisition of fewer objects. One reason was that we were much more critical this year about what to take in. So when the hard work of clean-out was over and a treat of cold beer and hot saussages were handed out to the participants, we were able to enjoy our harvest of a few but very interesting (and slightly bizarre) objects.
One group of objects were three maniquins from the Department of Odontology. The training heads immediately caught the attention of Camilla Mordhorst and Monica Lambert, who saw numerous possibilities for use in the exhibition.
Another quite unexpected find was a collection of bladder stones, complete with a specially worked-out typology.
In addition to these acquisitions, the Panum Garbage Day once again proved to be a very effective means of alerting scientists to Medical Museion’s interest in quite recent biomedical equipment. It seems that the awareness that things do not have to be terribly old, rare, or valuable in order to be relevant as museum objects is spreading among the people who work with biomedical technologies every day and who are in the position to donate objects to the museum. For that reason, Medical Museion will definitely be in place for next year’s clean-out day.