History of Medicine Museums and Institutes

A collection of links and information about history of medicine museums and institutes in Central and Eastern Europe

Museum of  Medical History at the Charité / Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité, Berlin

Thoughtful and innovative museum entwining traditional pathological exhibitions (still used as teaching tools in medical training and also catering to the general public’s fascination with the ‘ew!’ factor) and modern concepts problematizing the relationship between doctor and patient, production of science and the act of archiving medical artifacts. The staff is welcoming and helpful for researchers in the history of medicine.

Museum of Psychiatry in Saxony / Sächsisches Psychiatriemuseum, Leipzig

This small museum, housed in the University Psychiatric Clinic in Leipzig, holds a variety of fascinating objects from the history of psychiatry in the Saxony region, including a number of items and writings belonging to the famous psychiatric patient Daniel Paul Scheber, author of Memoirs of my Nervous Illness. The musum also has a number of books for sale related to projects carried out with the Archiv für Psychiatriegeschichte.

Semmelweis Museum of the History of Medicine / Semmelweis Orvostörténeti Múzeum, Budapest

Located in the house where Ignaz Semmelweis was born, this museum focuses on the history of Western medicine, the Hungarian history of medicine and the life and work of Ignaz Semmelweis. For 2000 HUF (7 EUR) you can receive an English or German language tour of the museum.

Hospital in the Rock / Sziklakórház, Budapest 

A must-see destination for historians of medicine working on the post-war era, this popular museum is located in the cave system beneath the Buda Castle, where a  hospital was set up during World War II. In the Cold War the space was used as a nuclear bunker and was transformed into a top secret medical facility. The furniture, medical equipment and supply have been mainly untouched since the 1960s. The exhibition itself is unconventional: wax figures replicate hospital practice with the original artifacts, and instead of labels, information is provided by guides. Therefore the hospital can only be visited through guided tours. Tours in English begin every hour, additional tours in German, French and Italian can be arranged upon request.

Musum at the Josephinum, Vienna / Museum im Josephinum, Wien

This museum charts the history of the Medical University of Vienna, with a strong focus on te 18th and 19th centuries. It also houses documents pertaining to significant individuals in medicine in Central Europe – from Boer to Freud – along with a collection 18th century obstetric and anatomical wax models. Tours of the museum are available on Thursdays without reservation.

Czech Pharmaceutical Museum, Kuks, Czech Republic / České farmaceutické muzeum
Hospitál Kuks

This museum, based at the Kuks Hospital in North-East Bohemia, holds exhibits from the history of pharmacy in the Bohemian lands from the 17th-20th centuries. They also have regular lectures and podcasts (in Czech). The museum is open daily between May and September, and on weekends from October to April, and visits can be booked in advance via the website.

The Ukrainian National Museum of Medicine, Kiev

This museum, which is linked to Kiev’s medical school, with exhibits documenting the history of medicine and pharmacy in Ukraine from Kievian Rus’ to the present day. More information can be found in English here.


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