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Donate an object

The BDA museum has approximately 30,000 items in its care and is still actively collecting objects that reflect the development of the dental profession in the UK.

COVID-19 Collecting

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we are actively and sensitively identifying objects to collect. These items will provide a permanent record for future generations of medical, cultural and personal responses to the outbreak and its impact on society.

Working in conjunction with the Science Museum and BDA library, we are documenting the pandemic and its effect on dentistry through objects. If you have any photographs, PPE equipment, health and safety equipment, signage to donate, then please get in touch.


A Farr dental practice first hot site in Hertfordshire.jpg

Many thanks to Andrew Farr for this image of the first COVID-19 team at the local dental access centre in Hertfordshire, 22 April 2020.


3. Team social distanced message from home.jpg
Many thanks to Queensway dental practice for the donation of PPE equipment to the museum and photos of the team.


denise Forshaw 2.jpg denise forshaw 1.jpg denise forshaw.jpg

Denise Forshaw, retired dentist and BDA member has recorded the pandemic through her artworks inspired by photographs of her family and support team at Sandy Lane Dental Practice, Skelmerdale, Lancashire.


Recent Acquisitions

Many thanks to the family of E H Irish for the donation of this tray to the museum. Sepia phtograph of EH Irish


It was presented to him at the end of the Second World War for services to the Incorporated Dental Society (IDS).


E H Irish (1876-1966) was apprenticed to a dentist in Chippenham in 1897 before being articled to a dental laboratory in Southampton. He joined the Incorporated Dental Society, which represented the rights of non-formally qualified dentists, and was active in their involvement in the negotiations in shaping the Dentists Act 1921. He continued to be an active member of the Society holding the position of treasurer, secretary and chairman of the Southampton branch of the Society until its amalgamation into the BDA in 1950.


Clse up of the engraving on the presentation tray Tray presented to E H Irish

Many thanks to the family of John Cannon for their donation of numerous items relating to the career of this GDP in Horsham.

J Cannon (1930-2021) qualified BDS Dunelm at King's College, Newcastle on Tyne in 1955 and following national service set up in practice in Horsham where we worked until his retirement. 

Items of great interest include his student notebooks and painted plaster models, photographs of his dental surgery and plaster models of recruits taken whilst on national service, a selection of dental manufacturing catalogues and newspaper cuttings both national and local about the fluoridation of water supplies in the 1960s.


Plaster mould of a lower jaw of teeth Plaster, painted, indivdual teeth Black and white photograph of the RADC dental centre
Plaster model taken whilst on national service, plaster painted teeth and the RADC dental centre, Ewshot.


Necktie archive – Search your wardrobe now!

The BDA Museum has close to 150 different ties including some dental novelty ties representing over 105 dental organizations, schools and clubs.



This is probably the tip of the iceberg, so more back of the wardrobe searching is required!


We think that 1921 was the year when the first dental tie was introduced – possibly linked to the formation of the Royal Army Dental Corps at the end of the First World War, when regimental ties were fashionable. The collection is championed by Professor N Wilson so if anyone has any information please contact him nairn.wilson@btinternet.com.


The collection is international but, in the UK, the dental schools that are presently not represented in the archive include: Dundee, Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, and Belfast, Peninsula and UCLAN. From the Republic of Ireland, no Dublin or Cork dental school ties have been donated. If they exist, examples of these ties would be greatly appreciated.


So, gentlemen, as tie wearing is going out of fashion, your mission is to rummage in your wardrobe, drawers and cupboards for these lost icons of dental fraternity, they mustn’t be lost to history.


What does the museum collect?

The main areas that we are still collecting include:

  • Anaesthesia

  • ​Archives

  • ​Cleaning

  • Conservation

  • ​Diagnosis

  • Extraction

  • Fine arts

  • Orthodontics

  • ​Photography

  • ​Prophylaxis

  • Prosthetics

  • Surgery

  • ​​History of the BDA

At present we are focusing our collecting on the following areas:

  • Contempory collecting​

  • Dental instruments (particularly objects that 'tell a story' - i.e. relate to a particular person or event)

  • ​Inventions and innovations

  • History of the BDA

  • Photographs and archives

  • COVID-19

Due to certain constraints such as limited storage space, health and safety needs and the Human Tissue Act the museum is unable to accept every item which is offered.

How to donate to the collection

If you would like to donate a piece to the museum, contact museum@bda.org giving as much information as possible. 


We may ask for a photograph as this is a useful way of identifying objects and assessing their condition.

We are unable to give valuations for objects and suggest that you contact an auction house. ​