Being a Mother – Exhibition of the era and medical histories

Date: 2018-09-21

Nowadays, it is natural that women and men live healthily in welfare societies and bearing a child is not too risky. We can plan the number of children, the way and location of birth, and even the date of birth. Thanks to the advanced medical imaging procedures and diagnostics, the development of the foetus can be traced, the number and the gender of the foetus can be perceived in advance and the hidden diseases or malformations can be identified.

This was not even obvious in the 19th century. Besides having children, woman had to face many other difficulties. In all historical ages the mortality rates of women of child-bearing age (15-35 years) have been worse than men of the same age. As a general reason, childbirth and complications around childbirth are declared.

What is common between the Empress of the Habsburg Empire and the poor wife of the tanner in Vác who has tuberculoses? In the exhibition visitors can experience the fate of known and unknown women and mothers until Semmelweis’s age by watching a documentary film. The characters of the film tell their stories, a moment of their lives in first person singular. The warming story of the residual human mortal remains – mummies, skeletons – appearing in the exhibition, unfold moving, or sad fates.

By evoking his own words, the exhibition presents Semmelweis’s struggling journey and dedicated resolution to help women giving birth.

The exhibition is organized by the Hungarian Natural History Museum in connection with the Semmelweis Memorial Year.