Organised by the group whose conference I attended and enjoyed back in April:
7 July–23 December 2011 (Closed 29 August and 12–18 September inclusive) Monday-Friday 09.00-18.00, Saturday 09.00-16.30, Sunday closed Admission Free The London underground displays posters for fertility clinics, directed at both women and men. Picture books teach children the facts of life. We are always reading about reproduction. Reproduction also describes what communication media do — multiply images, sounds and text for wider consumption. This exhibition is about these two senses of reproduction, about babies and books, and the ways in which they have interacted in the past and continue to interact today. Before reproduction there was generation, a broader view of how all things come into being than the fusion of egg and sperm. Before electronic media there were clay figurines, papyrus, parchment, printed books and journals. The interactions between communication media and ideas about reproduction have transformed the most intimate aspects of our lives. /Books and Babies/ traces these interactions from ancient fertility figures and medieval manuscripts to the birth of Louise Brown following in vitro fertilization in 1978. The media sensation that surrounded her arrival illustrates how modern reproductive ‘miracles’ have been publicised worldwide. The research with Patrick Steptoe and Jean Purdy that led Robert Edwards to win the Nobel Prize reveals the varied roles of communication within and around the laboratory. The exhibition opens with a chronological story of the books and other objects that have been central to communicating reproduction from ancient times to the present day. We move from theories of human generation to the modern dilemmas of reproductive choice and population control, and from handwritten documents to digital media. Other elements pursue particular themes: communication in reproductive research, the long life of a single advice manual (/Aristotle’s Masterpiece/), the evolutionary epic of the ‘Ascent of Man’, ‘Extraordinary Births’ as news, and the rise of ‘Population Arithmetick’. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award in the History of Medicine on 'Generation to Reproduction'