About us | Association of Anaesthetists
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About us

History of the collection

The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre tells the remarkable story of anaesthesia, from its first public demonstration in 1846 to modern day anaesthetists working in the aftermath of wars and terrorist attacks. The Museum, rare book collection and archive are a unique resource for both curious visitors and specialist researchers.

The museum has a permanent and a temporary display, as well as pull-out drawers and flip books containing biographies and details of large anaesthetic machines. The collections give an insight into the history of anaesthesia, resuscitation and pain relief.

London Museums of Health and Medicine

We are proudly part of the London Museums of Health and Medicine. More information can be found here

Strategic plan

All of events, activities and exhibitions will reflect our purpose and vision, and be relevant to our collection. 

The Anaesthesia Museum enables people to explore its collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. It seeks to collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts which are held in trust for society relating to the development of the speciality of anaesthesia. It promotes awareness of the history of the speciality amongst anaesthetists and the general public. 

Vision

To link the past with the present, and keep alive the history of the speciality through education and information and preserving our heritage.

Key achievements and current position:

  • A world-class accredited museum, archive and education activity;
  • Growing visitor numbers;
  • Comprehensive and unique collections;
  • Highly skilled volunteers;
  • Innovative First World War project;
  • Museum Lates established as a twice yearly event programme;
  • Engaging in new events such as MEDFest and OpenHouse London to raise the profile of the centre and work with new audiences;
  • Heritage has been recognised as a sub-brand in the re-branding of the Association;
  • The museum area has been redecorated and the lighting in the cabinets has been improved.

Over the next five years we will:

  • Initiate outreach to schools and young people;
  • Engage medical professionals on the history of anaesthesia and pain management;
  • Provide public education about historical and recent developments in anaesthesia, the role of the anaesthetist and impact on patient safety;
  • Develop funding streams to support development;
  • Involve trainees more actively, particularly in outreach programmes and communication;
  • Nurture links with other organisations (e.g. universities and schools, industry, the History of Anaesthesia Society, London Museums of Health and Medicine);
  • Explore other spaces for hosting visiting exhibitions – both permanent and temporary (e.g. other medical or non-medical institutions and museums);
  • Consider media collaboration for public education, e.g. documentaries;
  • Review how the limited space available can be used to maximum effect or enhanced using technology.

To achieve our vision we will:

  • Improve our facilities (e.g. more prominent space, increased accessibility, cafe, education room, storage);
  • Enhance profile by marketing and communications;
  • Reach out to press/media and programme makers/broadcasters;
  • Use advanced technology (e.g. digitising the collections) and build our online presence;
  • Recruit a more diverse and larger group of volunteers;
  • Increase opening hours, with more staff, or develop in-house staff capacity as experts in heritage/museum work;
  • Charge for talks to generate income;
  • Engage consultants (e.g. museum designer, educator, historian);
  • Recruitment of an in-house historian through a fellowship or academic collaboration.

The history of anaesthesia walking tour


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