Last Wednesday (October 21) a group of high school students from Carnegie Vanguard High School visited Rice University for a Civic Humanist field trip with the HRC's Public Humanities program. The trip kicked off the first event focused exclusively on the Medical Humanities as a significant theme in both contemporary culture and in regard to the history and flourishing of Houston's local medical community.
Greeted upon arrival in front of the Rice Art Gallery in the morning, HRC Fellow Mark Schmanko walked Carnegie students over to Duncan Hall for an interactive lecture with Civic Humanist Fellow Abby Goode, who spoke passionately about "outbreak narratives" and cultivating awareness of how disease, health and well-being are circulated in the media and public culture.
The group then headed over to Fondren Library and was welcomed at the Woodson Research Center by Amanda Focke and Rebecca Russell, who gave students an introduction to the library and center. Carnegie students were then brought downstairs to view an Artifact Display room set up in Fondren's Collaboration Space by Philip Montgomery and Sandra Yates of the Texas Medical Center (TMC) Library. They viewed a host of fascinating historical artifacts from the 1800s and early 1900s, and heard stories and information related to Houston's medical history and practices. Click here to view the TMC's digital collections. It was a blast of information and fun!
*A home electric-shock-therapy device, a common medical contraption in the late 1800s (compliments of TMC Library)
We concluded the Civic Humanist field trip with lunch in front of the Rice Art Gallery, where Abby gave a creative writing prompt for students to reflect on their experience of the field trip and the meaning of the Medical Humanities. Click here to view some of their creative reflections. Students also had an opportunity to take a peak at the amazing Intersections installation at Rice's Art Gallery. Rice undergradaute Siera Cowen, who is an officer with Rice Medical Humanities (a student-run organization), was also present for the field trip - supporting and interacting with the students.
Overall, it was a successful launch for the Medical Humanities program. We are grateful for the collaborative support from everyone involved, including Carnegie Vanguard High School. We look forward to keeping you posted on future trips with the HRC's Public Humanities program!
*Philip Montgomery speaks to Carnegie Vanguard students about the history of Houston's medical community