Established in 1963, the Museum for History of Georgian Medicine was the first museum of such type and function in the Soviet Union. The unique collection of the Museum consists of more than 19000 objects, which demonstrate the breadth and diversity of Georgian medical history and reflect the main stages and directions of its development.
Due to the political instability of 90s, the maintenance of the museum stopped. At the moment, it is situated in the classicist style historic building from 1872, which is owned by the city of Tbilisi.
After involvement in the Project ‘Time Machine – Museum in 21st century’ (implemented by the Goethe Institute Tbilisi), the new life of the museum started. The project intends to reshape structures of the post-soviet museums and transform them into platforms, where the ways of social, cultural, political development of the country intersect and become tangible.
With the initiative and guidance of Wato Tsereteli, a group for the development of the museum was formed, consisting of the interdisciplinary team: Ramaz Shengelia (the director of the Museum), Aka Morchiladze (writer and historian, Georgia), Frances Belser (artist, Switzerland), Wato Tsereteli (artist, Georgia), Hans De Herder (conservation and restoration expert, the Netherlands).
Furthermore, for the first time, the Georgian Ministry of Culture has set aside the 2014 budget for administration and security of the museum. The renovation of the museum is kindly supported by Heidelberg Cement.
The collection of the Museum has preserved evidence of Colchian-Iberian medical practices. The beginning of Georgian History of Medicine is associated with Medea, the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchi (XIII-XII BC) who is considered to be the personification of medical-pharmacological knowledge. The term medicine is obviously related to Medea’s name.
The collection can be more or less grouped and identified into the following clusters of objects: prehistoric archeological materials, artefacts from XII century, medical manuscripts (XVII-XIX centuries), historical medical instruments and equipment, Georgian folk medicine equipment, exceptional photo collection from early twenties of XX century, paintings and sculptures of renowned Georgian Artists.
The significant part of the collection was obtained through more than 40 expeditions held between1960-1987 in each region of Georgia. These expeditions resulted in unique material on traditional Georgian medicine, including more than 500 manuscripts and historic documents