Museum

Why an Epilepsy Museum? Why an Epilepsy Museum?

Rooms and focusRooms and focus

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Why an Epilepsy Museum?

In September 1998 the first German epilepsy museum was opened, and is - as far as we know - the first one world-wide.

The opening took place on the occasion of the 5th colloquium "Epilepsy in Narrative Fiction" in Kehl-Kork. In the meantime the museum, which was initially accommodated in temporary premises, has found its permanent place in six new rooms in the Kork Craft Museum.

The idea to found the Kork museum was founded on both historical and contemporary questions and aims.

The historical questions were based on:

  • Curiosity: How did people react to epilepsy and the people who suffered from it in the past?

  • Gaining more knowledge: Can we learn from the knowledge and experience of past ages?

  • Social history: Can we draw conclusions about the intellectual, social, societal, religious, and cultural trends throughout the centuries and about the level of scientific knowledge people had by looking at the way in which people in different centuries reacted to the disease epilepsy and those who suffered from it?

With regard to the present, the museum had two main objectives:

  • To inform the public: information on epilepsy, reducing prejudices, information on the latest types of diagnosis and treatment.
  • To be scientifically and academically accurate: It was important that the presentation of the exhibits had a scientific basis so that they could be used as a source for academic studies. A library (comprising over 50 books) with works on epileptology, dissertations and scientific articles from the 17th to the 19th century give the reader access not only to modern literature on epilepsy but also to older and rarer works on the subject.

A museum should have a life of its own and not merely reflect the past; it should form a link to the present and be open for future change. In this respect a museum should never be something permanent, finite, but it should always be "on the move", developing further. This is also true of the Epilepsy Museum in Kork. We hope that it will continue to develop and change in the coming years. We would be most grateful for your ideas and suggestions (contact@epilepsiemuseum.de).

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The exhibits in the 6 rooms in the museum have the following focus:

Room 1: Introduction
   - What is epilepsy?
   - Poster-Gallery

Room 2: History
Brief survey of the epilepsy history:
   - Eponyms: terms for epilepsy from the past
   - Hippocrates, Galen, Paracelsus, Tissot,...
   - Works on epilepsy from previous centuries
   - Historical illustrations

Room 3: Diagnosis
   - the development and significance of the EEG
   - Equipment (EEG caps, electrodes, EEG apparatus)
   - Seizures: clinical picture of seizures and EEG

Room 4: Therapy
in the past:
   - Plant preparations (phytotherapy)
   - Tradition (folk medicine)
   - Cures from the saints or sacred objects
      (hagiotherapy)
today:
   - Drug therapy (anti-epileptic drugs)
   - Surgical therapy (epilepsy surgery)

Room 5: Epilepsy and Art
   - Votive tablets
   - Paintings of the saints
   - Contemporary art
   - Motifs taken from epilepsy in sculpture
   - Motifs from epilepsy in narrative literature

Room 6: Famous people who suffered from epilepsy (with portrait gallery)



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German Epilepsymuseum Kork - Museum for epilepsy and the history of epilepsy