Prosthetic limbs on display: from maker to user - NMS Research Repository
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Journal article

Prosthetic limbs on display: from maker to user

2017

Abstract

Prosthetic devices have been used in museums to tell clinical, technical and personal stories. Here we reflect on the ways artificial limbs and their users were represented in recent museum projects at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and at National Museums Scotland. We consider how these meaningful artefacts illuminate three overlapping themes in museum scholarship and practice: the representation of disabled people and disability in museums; reflections on conflict-acquired limb loss; and the presence or otherwise of user or patient voice in interpretation. In working with and representing people who design and wear prosthetics we advocate a balance between narratives of technique and of use.

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