NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT. 2010. This project, devoted to the legacy of the renowned Dr. Harvey Cushing known as the pioneer of modern brain surgery, is a small museum, archive and seminar room, buried in the bowels of the sub-basement of the Yale Medical School Library. The collection on display includes some 400 brains showing various sorts of tumors, operating instruments, photos, patient records, Cushing’s copious notebooks, drawings, and some of his fabulous collection of books, including originals by Vesalius.
One enters the collection on a ramp that descends between displays of bottled brains illuminated by the miniature LED footlights into the main space. Here the collection is displayed in a series of vitrines, glass-topped drawers, and cabinets. At the back this space the seminar room where issues of modern neurosurgery are discussed. From there, through an interior window, the glow of brains is still present.
The folding warped surfaces of the counters and cabinets that expand and contract in a diverging, converging, relationship to the original existing walls, are designed not only to increase the area for display, but hopefully also to give an idea of the endless quest for an understanding of the subject mater. The idea behind the arrangement of the collection is that there is a connection to be made between the physical specimens, the records, photos, and instruments, as well as between all of those items and the life of Harvey Cushing himself.