Posted in biology, communication and networking, medical imaging, museum

Medical imaging from days of yore

Hope you’ve all had your coffee this morning, because we’re starting this week off by jumping right into the deep end.

Wired Science recently featured a post about a series being created of military medical images and illustrations from back in the day, ranging from the Civil War  to Vietnam eras. The collection is being put together by Mike Rhode, an Army archivist. 

Some of the images aren’t so bad — I think the guy with the fig leaf tied around his waist for his “nude” picture is pretty funny, and there are some illustrations of steamboats from the day, which are pretty cool (who doesn’t love boats?) —  but some are pretty icky. I’m not sure what is so attractive to people about the images of deformed bones and peoples legs blown off. Possibly to end all war? Possibly to promote funding for modern medical imaging? For the sheer “yuck” factor?

Rhode’s reasoning: “You pay taxes. These are your pictures. You should be able to see them.”

Fair enough.

CP2657 by otisarchives1. 

U.S.A. Hospital Steamer “City of Memphis” (CP 2657).



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.