It's hard not to feel thankful for the progress we've made fighting disease and illness when touring this unique museum devoted to the historical development of medical sciences in Hong Kong, especially when contemplating what it must have felt like to sit in that old dentist's chair or strap on the contraption designed to treat humpbacks. Located at the top of Ladder Street in an Edwardian-style building, it occupies what was once the Pathological Institute, founded after the colony's horrific outbreak of bubonic plague in 1894 that claimed more than 2,500 lives within four months. Much from those old days is still evident, from the reconstructed laboratory illustrating how doctors studied bacteria and disease to the autopsy room. Other exhibitions explore ancient remedies for relieving pain, the history of dentistry and radiation, recent epidemics like SARS, and the differences between traditional Chinese and Western medicine, including an herbalist's shop and a new exhibition on the use of medicinal herbs in both cultures. Plan on about 45 minutes here.
- Beth Reiber