About Us

The Devon & Exeter Medical Heritage Trust was started informally in 2017/8 by a group volunteer curators and catalogers to hold, preserve, and care for a medical heritage collection.  In August 2020, we registered formally as a charity to better help us preserve these items and their stories, and bring them into public awareness. 

We have gratefully received the collection of historical medical items as a donation from the Devon & Exeter Medical Society. 

Vision

A community in contact with heritage and our collection. 

An accredited museum that can highlight the abundance and diversity of medical history and heritage in Devon and Exeter.

Mission

  • To establish proper care for the historic objects passed onto us, so that we may continue to learn through them and their stories.
  • To raise public interest and discussion on health care issues throughout history and contemporary society.
  • To develop a programme of handling sessions and events that bring people into contact with our objects and stories.

The Collection contains approximately 12,000 items of medical equipment and books. The artefacts are an eclectic mix of donated items – everything from Roman scalpels to a WWII portable anaesthetic machine, nurses’ uniforms to 18th-century medicine chests. Most of the pre-1900 manuscripts and books are now held at the Cathedral library and Devon Heritage Centre. 

Cataloguing the Collection is ongoing! In 2004, the Wellcome Institute awarded a grant to catalog and photograph items, but some remain unseen and unknown to us. DEMH Trust aims to continue this work, curating displays on a regular basis and becoming accredited as a museum.

People and Partners

Trustees

We have 6 Trustees who look after the Trust and its work. 

They contribute much time, effort and expertise towards the Trust. 

Volunteers

Our Volunteers are an immense help in cataloguing the collection, running events, and researching content for our exhibitions. If you would like to see the roles on offer click this link: Join Us.

Coordinator

As part of our joint project for ‘Thriving Communities’, All’s Well, we have a Project coordinator who looks after our volunteers and sets up our events. 

Partnership with EHBT

Exeter Historic Building Trust (EHBT) exists to preserve for the benefit of the people of Exeter and the nation buildings and other structures in and around the city of particular beauty or of historic or architectural merit. EHBT was founded in 1996 to rescue the former refectory wing of the 11th century Benedictine monastery of St Nicholas Priory. They now take care of the entirety of St Nicholas Priory, having received the West Wing in 2017 through a Community Asset Transfer. 

Our partnership enables us to work together to share resources and put on joint events. We currently run an exhibition in the display room of the priory and put on a number of handling sessions throughout the year. Click this link to find out more: What We Do.

They also join us in the Thriving Communities Project. Find out more by clicking through to their websites here: EHBT and St Nicholas Priory

Find Us...

We are based at St Nicholas Priory in Exeter. The priory is open every Sunday, 1-4pm, and Monday, 10am-4pm, with free admission. 

The nearest car park is Mary Arches Street, which is a five-minute walk.

Exeter Central train station is a ten-minute walk.

The bus station is a 15-minute walk with many buses stopping on the High Street which is ten minutes away.