Melbourne Dental School Cultural Collections Projects Program

Did you know that the University of Melbourne has a dental museum? With objects in the collection dating from the early 1700s, the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum provides insight into the history of dentistry and dental education in Victoria. The dental museum boasts more than 2,500 objects, photographs, documents and catalogues, which provide a unique learning experience.

Located on the ground floor at 720 Swanston St. in Melbourne, in the same building as the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne, the objects collection includes models, equipment, instruments, dentures and more. The permanent collection at the dental museum is entitled Cavities, keys and camels: Early dentistry in Victoria which the university said delves into “the social history, technical developments and professional foundation of dentistry in Victoria.”

Student Project: ­Collection Management – Cataloguing Assistant, Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum
Melbourne Dental School
Study dentistry at Melbourne Dental School
The program is open to students from both within and external to the University of Melbourne. Jasmine Targett, a final year Bachelor of Fine Arts student at Monash University, Caulfield campus, recently took up a student project with the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum.

Jasmine has worked with the museum’s collection of approximately 250 dental extracting instruments which date from c.1750s to the present day, ensuring that the instruments are fully catalogued by reviewing and expanding on the existing catalogue worksheets. Work includes checking all the current information against the original maker’s catalogues, recording the dimensions of each artifact, renumbering where necessary, checking for inscriptions and finally, assessing and recording the object’s basic condition.

The information Jasmine has gathered will be added to the electronic database and eventually uploaded to form part of the collection’s online catalogue.

About the Cultural Collections Projects Program
The University of Melbourne’s Cultural Collections provides students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, with a wonderful opportunity to work with one or more of the many fascinating and diverse cultural collections owned by the university.

Students from a broad range of disciplines including history, science, engineering, music, cultural conservation, art history and curatorship, as well as many more areas of study, benefit from the insights, experience, skills and opportunities acquired through participation in the program. While some students join the program to gain vocational experience as part of a course requirement, others take up a placement for much broader reasons; a long held interest in a collection or the simple desire to learn new skills relevant to their career path.

The Cultural Collections Projects Program, previously known as the Student Projects Program, was initially conceived to give students the opportunity to work behind the scenes with the University of Melbourne's many cultural collections. It has since expanded with the program now open to students, alumni and volunteers in the wider community. Each project is developed after consultation between the program coordinator and the relevant collection manager. All of the projects are of a high quality and provide students in particular with the unique opportunity to expand their vocational skills and enrich their learning experience. The projects also add real value to the cultural collections and contribute to their management, preservation and appreciation.

About the  Melbourne Dental School

Course: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
Duration: 4 years
Description: The  Melbourne Dental School offers the  Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), which incorporates all aspects related to the provision of advanced general dental care to patients as well as teaches students to prepare, develop, execute and write for publication a small research project.

Students will spend their entire final year in clinical settings including the planned University of Melbourne Dental School private dental clinic, community health centres and rural community clinics, which will include provision of oral health care to the aboriginal community. Students will also learn how to run a private practice based on a small-business model.


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