Emergence and Development of the Pauls Stradins Museum of the History of Medicine in Riga
Keywords:Latvia , Museums , Collections , History of medicine
AbstractThis paper reviews the establishment, development and present day of the Pauls Stradiņš Museum of the History of Medicine in Rīga, Latvia. The museum initially represented the hopes of one very excited enthusiast, and what was decisive was that he was able to fill the vacuum of knowledge and information, expand on it, and legalise it as an institution protected by the state. No less important, however, has been the approach taken by government structures and the public at large in support of Pauls Stradiņš’ hopes. This comparatively liberal approach toward what could be seen as a private museum can be attributed to the fact that health care had been declared a priority in the Soviet Union at that time, and in ideological terms, the history of medicine was a fairly neutral issue. The museum celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007. This paper reviews the basic functions and structures of the museum, as well as the changes which have occurred in the complex era of the 20th century. Some areas of activity are reviewed in greater detail, and there are statistics to offer a look at the museum today.