Illness & Health
Discover surprising stories in the Breda Collection
April 7 - January 3, 2021
The Breda Collection contains numerous hidden tales of illness and health. Together with city archivists, archaeologists and curators, we spent a year looking for remarkable objects and documents. Amphia Hospital also took part. Now, we are presenting the most beautiful tales spanning several centuries in the CollectionLab for the duration of a year.
One of the histories in the first edition concerns an autopsy in Breda. The background story can be found in a document from the archive. In 1654, the head and neck of the deceased Gilles Terknoeff were dissected and his brains prepared. The two hemispheres of the brain were separated and its chambers examined. In 2017, archaeologists found a skeleton on the former Coehoorn fortification, with a dissected skull. The top had been sawn off. Who was this man? Had this act taken place in the context of scientific research? We will be attempting to answer these and many other questions in the coming year.
The CollectionLab offers an impression of the city’s medical history. In addition to the original interior of Smagghe apothecary, prescriptions for medications, and photographs from the Royal Military Academy hospital, we are displaying instruments and even human remains.
"This I swear, on having been admitted, that I will act as a surgeon in the city of Breda, to heal the wounded and injured, and examine their wounds." Surgeon’s oath, Breda, 1590-1599
A different theme will be highlighted every three months. First of all, we will be focusing on hospital care for soldiers and the city’s medical professionals; next we will be looking at clinics and hospitals. Finally, Jan Ingenhousz will be central to the exhibition. In the 18th century, this Breda doctor became famous for his smallpox vaccinations and his role as personal physician to Empress Maria Theresia.
Daring children can take a look in our Bone Lab, together with their parents. There is also a family route offering text and videos explaining the objects.
Illness & Health in Collection Lab has been created by Stedelijk Museum Breda, City Archives Breda, Archaeological Service and regional museums.