‘Brains: the Mind as Matter’ is a Wellcome Collection exhibition at The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) which opens on July 26. The exhibition explores what humans have done to brains in the name of medical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning, and technological change. It also demonstrates how Manchester has long featured at the forefront of all things neurosurgery.
Many items in the exhibition have been loaned out by The University of Manchester for the very first time, including the work of Carys Bannister (OBE), the UK’s first female neurosurgeon. Bannister was a world-leader in neurosurgery who lived and worked in Manchester. She pioneered much of the research for the successful treatment of hydrocephalus, the condition of excess fluid on the brain. When visiting the exhibition you will be able to view a hydrocephalic skull and lantern slides which show hydrocephalus.
Other highlights include the work of Sir Geoffrey Jefferson, an employee at hospitals in both Salford and Manchester between the 1920s and 1950s, and drawings by Dorothy Davison, a medical artist who helped found the Medical Artist Association. Jefferson and Davison worked together extensively to illustrate brain conditions and the surgical procedures used to treat them.
Brains curator Marius Kwint said:
“The archives and collections from the University reveal some of the inspiring individuals who helped to make the city a centre for neurological science and medicine. There are some fascinating stories here. And then, of course, there are the sometimes tragic and touching cases of their patients.”
Items loaned from the University include slides, video footage, drawings, and books. There are also some historic specimens from diseased brains, a spinal cord, and brain slices, and a fascinating resin cast of a brain hemisphere. Professor Stuart Allan discussed our collaboration with MOSI:
“These artefacts reveal the ground-breaking work done on the brain here in Manchester, and the MOSI exhibition provides a fantastic opportunity to share these stories with the public. The University has played a crucial role in training world-leading scientists and medics. We hope this exhibition will inspire future generations and highlight the wonders of the human brain.”