Diseases of Modern Life at the St Anne’s College Family Day

Last month, the Diseases of Modern Life team hosted several activities for the St Anne’s College Family Day, on Sunday 28 April. The day involved St Anne’s alumnae and their families returning to the college for a day of interactive activities and academic sessions, ranging from musical workshops to storytelling.

The team ran two activities which brought to life some of the project’s research on Victorian literature, culture, and medicine. Dr Hosanna Krienke wowed visitors with her ‘Timing the Victorians’ interactive quiz, which saw families and friends pitted against each other to answer questions about the speed of Victorian life. Visitors were shocked to learn the time it took to send a telegram from London to Bombay in 1870—just nine minutes! By comparison, visitors were intrigued to learn that Victorian scientists estimated that it took around three and a half hours for a human stomach to digest a piece of roast beef.

Dr Hosanna Krienke quizzing visitors on time and Victorian literature. Photo credit: Matthew Pitt Photography.
Visitors marking their answers to the quiz. Photo credit: Matthew Pitt Photography.

Dr Sarah Green entertained alumnae and their families with Mind-Boggling Medical History, an interactive card game which challenges players to separate current and historical medical practice from fiction. Visitors were confronted with statements such as “Excessive cycling can cause permanent damage to the muscles in the face”, and had to decide for themselves whether the statement reflected current or past medical thinking, or whether it was completely fictional. You can find out more about Mind-Boggling Medical History, and have a go at answering the questions yourself, by visiting the website.

Dr Sarah Green boggling visitors’ minds with unbelievable medical history. Photo credit: Matthew Pitt Photography.

The activities were attended by visitors of all ages, who even got the chance to pose with the college mascot—the St Anne’s beaver—during the day. We would like to extend a big thank you to Dr Hosanna Krienke, Dr Sarah Green, and Dr Catherine Charlwood for hosting activities, and to the team at St Anne’s who hosted the family day. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

The St Anne’s college beaver lending a helping paw at the Diseases of Modern Life activities. Photo credit: Catherine Charlwood.
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