The Institute for the History of Medicine looks after four collections: The Inselspital Bern Medical Collection, the General Collection of Medical Historical Objects, the Otto Hallauer Collection of Eyeglasses and the Pharmacognostic Collection. In total, these collections comprise around 10,000 inventoried objects.
The Medical Collection of the Inselspital Bern focuses on the period from 1950 onwards. Most of the objects originate from the clinical context. The thematic focus of the collection is on apparatus medicine, nursing objects, hospital furniture, operating and examination tables and surgical instruments.
The objects in the General Collection of the Institute for the History of Medicine were mainly used in the areas of research and teaching and are mainly from the period from the end of the 19th century to around 1950.
The collection of glasses, which goes back to Otto Hallauer, consists of around 1,000 pairs from the 18th to the 20th century.
The Pharmacognostic collection includes not only medicinal drugs and preparations, but also numerous manuals and atlases, several physico-chemical as well as galenic apparatuses and a herbarium, which was established around 1860 by Prof. F.A. Flückiger.
The medical history collections document the history of medicine. Their objects represent important developments in medicine in research, clinical practice and care, and provide information about how health and illness are dealt with in a larger social context. The technical development of individual instruments and devices can also be traced and demonstrated in detail on the basis of object series.
The collections of the University of Bern are listed as an A-object in the Swiss Inventory of Cultural Objects of National Importance.
The collections are currently not open to the public.
For research purposes, for loans or simply for browsing, the collection databases of the Medical Collection can be consulted online.