Exhibitions

It's a Gas! Dentistry & Cartoons

Monday, May 9, 2016 to Saturday, December 17, 2016

"It’s a gas!" is an expression meaning "it’s hilarious" or "it's funny". A possible origin is the effect of Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) on one’s behaviour. Nitrous Oxide gas was first synthesised by the English chemist Joseph Priestly in 1772, and first used to anaesthetise a dental patient in 1844. Anaesthetics transformed the delivery of dental services, having a significant impact on the well-being of the patient. However people still fear the dentist and the dentist is the brunt of many jokes. This exhibition traces the history of dentistry through illustrations and cartoons dating from the seventeenth century to today. Themes include fear, relief, pain and vanity. Works will come from private and public collections. It is on at the Medical History Museum, Brownless Biomedical Library, University of Melbourne.

The Dental Journey: From Tusks to Teeth to the Vulcanite

Thursday, July 16, 2015 to , ,

The exhibition considers the dental journey, starting with the primary historic role of the dentist to relieve the troubled subject from the unpleasantries of dental pain. Drawing on the museum’s rich and extensive collection, the exhibition explores the progression of dentistry from one of treatment based on charms and spells, through extraction, conservation and restoration of teeth, to the emergence of dentistry as a profession, and the vulcanite age. Significant items on display include an extensive range of dental extraction keys, early instruments for plugging and cleaning teeth; a fascinating collection of dentures made from bone, ivory, porcelain and human teeth, some with springs for retention; an 1890s dental chair and other ‘fitting room’ furniture, as today’s surgery was then known. Ground floor, Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne, 720 Swanston Street, Melbourne