Museum of the Home announces Women's Weeds, uncovering the hidden histories of women in medicine
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Museum of the Home announces Women's Weeds, uncovering the hidden histories of women in medicine
Jerzy Gorecki Pixabay, Womens weeds, Romany Talk.

LONDON.- Brand-new site-specific audio installation Women’s Weeds will be in the Gardens Through Time at Museum of the Home throughout summer 2023. Women’s Weeds shares the complex ways in which women have contributed towards scientific achievements over the last 600 years, and the cultural context of how and why many of their stories have been lost.

This history is not about heroes or one or two stand-out women. Countless women did the work of healing within their families and sharing knowledge within their communities. These handed- down heritages of healing were part of oral traditions and not written down. The fragments that remain contribute to a wider story that is massive, complex, silent and ubiquitous. Women’s Weeds asks the listener to consider the history of women in medicine not as a separate subject of analysis, but as the history of medicine itself.

The medium of audio ensures an intimacy that allows visitors to engage with thought-provoking and sometimes difficult stories at their own pace. In the same way that women’s histories have been invisible in the history of medicine, an audio experience is also invisible. Women’s Weeds aims to allow these stories to live on and invites visitors to question supposed truths.

Women’s Weeds begins in the Herb Garden, exploring the cunning women and midwives of Mediaeval Europe in the time of the witch trials. Next, the visitor is guided to the Knot Garden and 1600s Stuart Garden, learning about the herbal books and kitchen physic of the Early Modern herbal healers. The journey continues with the 1700s Garden, delving into the darkness of colonial botany, uncovering the Amerindian and African stories of the colonial West Indies.

The visitor emerges from this experience into the Victorian feminist fight for equality in scientific recognition and education.

Women’s Weeds is devised and developed by Dr Romany Reagan, an Arts Council England- funded research fellow, with Museum of the Home in London, studying the hidden histories of women in medicine. Dr Reagan received her doctorate from Royal Holloway, University of London in Performing Heritage in 2018. Her practice-based thesis explored the layers of heritage within Abney Park cemetery, which led to a study of the occult literary heritage of Stoke Newington, ‘earth mystery’ psychogeography, and folklore. Since completion of her PhD, Dr Reagan has documented her ongoing research into dark heritage, lost histories, and place-based folklore and legends on her blog Blackthorn & Stone. Her audio walks through various sites in London are available on SoundCloud.

Museum of the Home’s purpose is to reveal and rethink the ways we live, in order to live better together. Through our collections, exhibitions, events, performances and debates, we reveal diverse, thought-provoking and personal stories of the home from the last 400 years to the present and looking into the homes of the future. Explore stories of home and share your own.

Museum of the Home
Women’s Weeds
July 7th, 2023 - September 30th, 2023

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