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BDA Museum: highlights of 2018

Blog Author Rachel Bairsto

Blog Date 10/01/2019


Last year was a busy and exciting one for the BDA Museum - here are some highlights from our work during 2018:

1. Teeth!


We were proud to support the Wellcome Collection's national 'Teeth' exhibition from May until September - the first of its kind in the UK, focusing on the topic of teeth and oral health. We loaned them over 60 objects and provided our expertise and advice. 

Over 84,000 visitors came along to see the exhibition, a particularly high number according to the Wellcome Collection, so we are pleased so many got to see some of our fascinating objects.

The Wellcome Collection's Head of Programmes, James Peto, gave an exclusive tour of the exhibition for our stakeholders, including MPs and peers

The exhibition also looked at dentistry today, featuring BDA England Community Dental Service Committee Chair Charlotte Waite, talking about treating nervous and anxious dental patients.

2. Saving St Apollonia

St Apollonia stained glass window

Thanks to the support of the Beecroft Foundation, we raised the funds to purchase and restore a rare 15th century stained-glass window featuring our patron saint, St Apollonia in 2018. 

This beautiful depiction comes from a church in Somerset and we were keen to purchase it, as it is a fantastic and unusual example. 

It is currently being restored, and we plan to have it displayed in the Museum soon, watch this space! 

3. Getting ‘Up close and medical’

Up close and medical BDA Museum event

We hosted a free event showcasing the collections of 13 medical museums from across London on 27 October, entitled 'Up close and medical', in collaboration with London Museums of Medicine and Health. 

Over 150 visitors got to grips with exploring how to extract a tooth in Tudor times and Victorian times at the BDA Museum stand.

4. 70 years of NHS dentistry

Start of the NHS dental treatment

2018 marked 70 years of the NHS and we celebrated 70 years of NHS dentistry with a temporary exhibition.  

We highlighted the history and development of NHS dentistry since its inception and the work of NHS dentists across the UK today, showcasing some of the wonderful objects from our collection.

5. The world’s creepiest museum?


During Halloween, we made it into the Guardian’s top 20 creepiest Museums in November

Interesting to be placed alongside the Disgusting Food Museum in Sweden and the Clowns Museum in Germany. Compared to them, we are far from creepy really! 

What’s coming up for 2019?

We are working on plans for 2019, we hope to hold a series of events around the theme of oral health inequalities, working with partners, we will continue our work cataloguing our objects, fundraising, and we will support the Lindsay Society lecture in May, as well as a host of other exciting activities. 

We are always on the look-out for new volunteers, if you have some time to spare, please get in touch, we have plenty of things that need doing!

Many thanks go to our current volunteers as well, without you we could not achieve what we have during 2018. 

Rachel Bairsto, BDA Museum Head

BDA Museum

The BDA Museum has one of the largest collections of dental heritage in the UK. Spanning the 17th century to the present day, highlights of the collection include dental chairs, drills, oral hygiene products, and the infamous ‘Waterloo’ teeth. Pop in and see for yourself.