THE CYPRUS MEDICAL MUSEUM
25 years of planning and the first donations
When 25 years ago the Committee of the Limassol Medical Association announced its decision to create a medical museum not many people took it seriously. It was well known that such a project required a lot of effort and doctors were not considered to be very enthusiastic in dealing with history and old fashion equipment.
That is why we were surprised to receive the first valuable donations from doctors or their families from Nicosia. This was followed very soon by more donations coming from the families of well known physicians of Limassol who preserved meticulously heavy and complicated apparatus in the premises of their clinic after their death.
More recently we received obsolete equipment and instruments from still practicing colleagues before they were disposed as garbage. The material that eventually accumulated was enormous and valuable.
Two important chronological milestones marked the difficult course of this project. The approval of the museum’s constitution in 2001 and its official registration in 2003.
The road to success was not however easy. The first serious obstacles appeared. Storage space was difficult to find and all efforts to convince municipal and state authorities to offer us an appropriate place to establish the medical museum failed. A notable example was the famous abandoned Tritoftidis clinic at the center of Limassol that was eventually demolished. Other examples of buildings followed that were subsequently used for the creation of other museums by the Limassol municipality. We began to feel frustrated and disappointed when the mayor of another municipality that of K.Polemidia George Georghiou announced to us that its council was willing to offer us a unique old building located in the historical sector of Polemidia that was going to be renovated under the supervision of the Department of Antiquities. We were delighted and thankful for the decision and for the fact that the chronological age of the building was in harmony with most of our exhibits.
Important decisions by the Committee
The Committee of the museum took right away its first important decisions. First, that the exhibits were going to be grouped in eight entities of related specialties. With the use of lighted platforms and life size models we would try to bring to life operating, delivery and examining rooms of the previous century. This work was undertaken by the well known architect and set designer George Papadopoulos.
The other decision was the creation of electronic infrastructure, data base and website. With the use of touch screens and other equipment the visitor
can get all the information regarding the donators of the exhibits, the period, location as well as how they were used. This responsibility was undertaken by one of our surgical colleagues Marios Karaiskakis who always stated that electronic structuring and creation of websites was his main hobby.
Finally, selecting, transferring and describing the exhibits was undertaken by Chris Messis assisted by Michalis Korais. Translation into English will soon be available on the website.
In the last two years we have all been working in harmony to create what we think will be an institution of excellence.
It contains 160 exhibits that were donated by 32 colleagues or their families, grouped in 8 units and connected with a similar number of touch screens next to them.
Special feature of the Museum is the presence of medical equipment used for the first time in Cyprus such as an electrocardiograph belonging to the late Mikis Constantinidis from Nicosia (1940) and the first hemodialysis machine that was used privately by a Greek and Turkish Cypriot patient in Limassol around 1970.
The delivery and care of a baby in 1930, surgery with general anesthesia in 1950, ENT surgery in 1950 and orthopedic surgery in 1960 are also impressive.
Outpatient performance of radiological procedures with all the necessary protection for the physician and the patient and film development in the 40s make another impressive picture.
Neurological procedures such as EEG and EMG during 1960 as well as Electroconvulsive (ECT) treatment construct another interesting unit.
A very old equipment of dentistry that was used in the 50s accompanied by a caricature from the dentist –artist Stathis Econmidis will attract the attention of the visitor.
Data base, touch screens and website
Opening the Museum’s website at www.cyprus-medical-musem.org one can find a wealth of information such as photographs from medical meetings from all over Cyprus going back up to 60 years ago and DVDs from congresses and other happenings in the last 40 years. Pictures of the donators with their exhibits as well as all functions leading to the completion of the Museum are also available.
We did not ignore books and other writings on Cypriot medicine that are meticulously preserved in a small library. Protocols and other historic documents are also exhibited at the entrance of the Museum.
Of special interest might be a small botanical garden in the yard of the Museum containing medicinal plants that have been used by Cypriots for therapeutic purposes created with love by Dr John Ioannidis.
Unfortunately our initial promise to include ancient medical equipment found in various excavations in Cyprus or identical copies did not materialize after our request was turned down by the Department of Antiquities thus depriving the visitors the comparison between ancient and more recent medical practice. We hope that this decision will change in the near future.
Cost and further needs
One would probably wonder about the cost of the whole project. The answer is that as a result of the volunteer work by a small group of dedicated colleagues this was contained to 100.000 Euros. It was partially covered by contributions from physicians, pharmaceutical companies and other sources. We are still of course expecting more financial support from the state and elsewhere in order to expand and enrich our educational programs.
Finally, our target regarding visitors include professionals and students of the medical and paramedical sector as well as primary and secondary schools.
Of course we are sure that ordinary people from all over Cyprus will have the opportunity to visit this unique Museum in order to learn more about the history of Cypriot medicine, the progress of medical technology and compare the practice of medicine in the last century with the present reality.
Marios Philippou MD Chris Messis MD
President of the Museum Committee Vice President, (In charge of the Museum-curator)
The Medical Museum welcomes interested visitors, every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00, while visits program will be prepared for schools.
For more informations -> CYPRUS MEDICAL MUSEUM
Source: Cyprus Medical Museum
Address: 1st Street, 4157 Limassol Cyprus Kato Polemidia
Accreditation: Limassol Medical Association
Period: All year
Hours of Operation: Monday Wednesday and Saturday 10:00 to 18:00
Facilities: The museum is accessible to people in wheelchairs.
Ticket Price: € 3 for adults, € 0.50 for minors
Supply Fee: From the entrance of the museum
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