Mudimed is the first digital museum dedicated to the history of the scientific method in medicine

Mudimed is the first digital museum dedicated to the history of the scientific method in medicine

Inaugurated on October 20, it is a virtual space in Italian conceived to introduce the challenges and tools of medicine through history. Conceived and created by Novartis Italia with the Ministry of Culture, in the first digital room there are already 19 works: this is what is there and how to visit it

Giuliano Volpe, coordinator of the scientific committee of Mudimed Medicine meets art, for bringing people closer to scientific culture and its method: this is the concept at the basis of the museum itinerary of Mudimed, the first digital museum in the history of the scientific method in medicine. A journey through the fundamental stages that have marked the evolution of medical practice from ancient times to the present day, made possible by a digital collection of knowledge networked by more than 2 thousand cultural institutions in 80 countries around the world.

Officially inaugurated in Rome on the morning of Wednesday 20 October, Mudimed was promoted by Novartis Italia and the Ministry of Culture, with the participation of the Ministry of University and Research and the technological support of Google Arts & Culture. To give depth to the research and exhibition work is also the presence of a scientific committee that brings together directors and directors of the great Italian museums, completed by a pool of narrators made up of internationally renowned researchers, scientists and popularizers: Arnaldo Colasanti, Barbara Gallavotti, Andrea Grignolio, Paolo Mazzarello, Guido Silvestri and the coordinator Giuliano Volpe.

What can be seen in Mudimed

Some of the most prestigious museums and libraries of our country have made their main works available in the exhibition space in digital format. Collecting them, Mudimed proposes an innovative approach to the story of the scientific method in medicine, through an original and engaging language, which accompanies an evocative but rigorous path, in which scientific innovation and medical science are intertwined with humanistic culture and art.

In the first digital room of the museum open to the public (waiting for the visit to expand) 19 works from cultural institutions of our country are already collected, such as the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, the Museum of the history of medicine de La Sapienza, the Museum and the Real Bosco di Capodimonte and the National Central Library of Rome. To which is added the aforementioned digital space Arts & Culture by Google. And among the works, it ranges from terracotta artifacts from the excavations of Pompeii, when medicine was mainly devotion and prayer, to the frescoes of the seventeenth century on the most important epidemics of the past, up to the finds that testify to the first surgical interventions. Then to get to modernity and topicality, between vaccinations and the frontiers of modern pharmacology.

The Oplomoclion An approach that underlines and emphasizes the link between science and cultural and social contexts, drawing inspiration from archaeological finds, artifacts, paintings, literary works and sculptures, ancient texts, works of art and evidence of popular culture. Thus, it ranges from terracotta ex voto from the Archaic period to the portable drug kit of the Baroque period, from the famous portrait of Aeneas wounded to the reproduction of the surprising Oplomoclion, an orthopedic instrument of the sixteenth century with the function of a corset to correct deformities of the spinal column and of the limbs, but also a synoptic table of all the prostheses then available.

Even the choice of the Mudimed logo itself has a meaning: it is inspired by the theory of the four humors that would govern the human body (yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood), first theorized by Hippocrates in the 5th century BC, then expanded by Galen. The balance between these moods corresponds to staying healthy, while the imbalance to illness: an intuition that is obviously outdated today, but which has made history, given that for centuries it has represented a fixed point in the evolution of medicine.

How to visit Mudimed

The starting point, as you can imagine, is a website: At the moment there are two main sections: one dedicated to telling the purpose of the project and the scientific committee and the other - the most important - with the museum itself, through a series of copyright video clips that tell some major issues. A few examples? Theurgic and magical-religious medicine that dates back to the most ancient phases of human history, the visions of suffering through the eyes of artists, musicians, writers and historians, the development of anatomy and that of surgery through the numerous instruments found in the excavations, up to modern medicine with its progress, its challenges and its goals.

The first digital room is dedicated in particular to the sources of history. But beware: Mudimed is not an accomplished museum, but an open construction site. The expansion path will continue over the years, with the opening of other exhibition spaces and the inclusion of new works and protagonists.

Enea wounded

Science to live and future proof

In addition to enhancing scientific culture, among the aims of Mudimed is to bring citizens - starting with the youngest - closer to the methods of science, and to strengthen the relationship of trust between science and society. "Mudimed was born when, in the midst of the pandemic, it was realized that the gap between citizens and science is still very wide, with resistance even in the young sections of the population", commented Pasquale Frega, country president and CEO of Novartis Italia. "For example, opinion polls have shown that in the age group between 15 and 25 there is a 30% -40% of people who have great distrust in official science".

The museum project digital, in fact, is part of the broader path of Science to live - Novartis for a future-proof Italy, which takes the form of a line of projects and actions in support of science literacy, with the aim of strengthening dialogue between culture, science and society to face present and future challenges. Another project aimed at upper secondary school students will be the Path of transversal and orientation skills, called Pcto.

“During the lockdowns we learned to visit museums in a new way. As Italians, we have a hidden and unknown scientific cultural heritage even to insiders, and combining it with our passion for science and innovation we wanted to respond with something that goes straight to the problem and makes science chewable for everyone ", he added Scrubs. "Our choice is that of a simple and direct language, with few technicalities and inspired by the Super Quark model, suitable for any age".

Pasquale Frega, country president and CEO of Novartis in Italy On the need on the occasion of the inauguration of the Mudimed, the Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini intervened to enhance scientific culture. “Our country has an extraordinary museum heritage, but compared to the history of our scientific culture we have, compared to other countries, few science museums. Physical and digital can and must coexist, they are not an alternative to the other, but complementary: digital platforms broaden the audience of people who approach cultural content, without stealing entrances to museums, theaters or cinemas ". And regarding the collaboration between public and private, he added: "The two worlds must interact in the promotion of culture and in the management of cultural heritage: Mudimed is a beautiful initiative that can show many other companies the path to follow".

The value of science, from PNRR to home care

"The meaning and value of science are today more than ever at the center of public debate and represent a fundamental aspect of the post-pandemic recovery", he continued Frega. “As a health company, it is our responsibility to promote the dissemination of scientific culture”. In a context in which, in the new normal, health science can no longer afford to give up digital.

"In the post-pandemic the question about the role and importance of digital has become an almost illicit question" , he told Wired. "Some still associate digital in healthcare with telemedicine and apps alone, but in reality digital embraces all the data along the healthcare path, useful for people's wellbeing and also to optimize spending". As we had already told, however, the Politecnico di Milano has positioned health and healthcare as the area which is the furthest away from the digital vortex, that is, with the lowest risk of a bubble effect.

All the more so with funds arriving through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan: “A large chapter of the NRP's expenditure concerns home care for chronic patients, currently only 4% of cases followed from home”, commented Frega. "The new structure of the treatment system, articulated on several levels, will only work if the patient's journey is followed digitally, starting from the electronic health record that will be the fulcrum and which is now very little used". 60 billion euros of the NRP is dedicated to digital health, and will have a strong impact: "The use of digital in healthcare will have to increase thanks to simple, fast and effective tools, which allow remote monitoring. Telemedicine alone is already facilitating a great deal today, but the evolution that awaits us is still enormous ", he concluded.

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