Tropical Medicine Time Machine returns to the World Museum

News article 31 Aug 2023

This August Bank Holiday saw LSTM’s Tropical Medicine Time Machine return to the World Museum in Liverpool as part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded project ‘LSTM-Past, Present, and Future’ to celebrate LSTM’s 125th anniversary.

Over 1300 visitors had the opportunity to explore LSTM’s science and history by journeying through the Tropical Medicine Time Machine, created by Sci-Art practitioners Tom Hyatt and Natasha Niethamer. Enthusiastic families and children were transported across LSTM’s past, present, and future whilst learning about the institute’s vital work in areas of vector biology, snakebite research, public health, and travel health.

Teams from the Department of Vector Biology and the Centre for Snakebite Research and Interventions (CSRI) joined the Tropical Medicine Time Machine, bringing their engaging and interactive science to the museum audience. The families and children created their unique “DNA bracelets” using colourful beading to represent the distinct parts that make up a molecule of DNA, whilst others marveled at the live mosquitoes brought by the team. The CSRI delighted members of the audience with fascinating items including snakeskins and 3D-printed snake fangs - not for the faint hearted!

Joining LSTM staff this weekend were community volunteers from across the region who were recruited through the Liverpool City Council Volunteer Scheme and LSTM’s partnership with Everton in the Community. The enthusiastic and helpful volunteers made a huge difference to the success of the event, helping as an extra pair of hands at the four craft stations that had been set up to complement the scientific stands in the exhibition, bringing together, art, science, time travel and some very imaginative mosquito making with pipe cleaners.

Volunteer David Blanchflower said: “It was a most enjoyable afternoon and clearly enjoyed by all who attended, especially the children. As a volunteer it's always a pleasure to participate in a well-organised event.”

LSTM’s scientists were also joined by Meg Parkes, a Far Eastern Prisoners of War (FEPOW) historian who was on-hand to discuss the role of LSTM in caring for the FEPOWs upon their return to the UK from captivity in World War II.

Public Engagement Manager, Elli Wright, said: “It was great to be back at the World Museum with the time machine, we’re thrilled by the many community volunteers who joined us on the day to support. It was an incredibly busy day and the audience seemed to enjoy learning about LSTM’s science, history, and art. We are looking forward to returning to the World Museum later in the year.”

The Tropical Medicine Time Machine returns to the World Museum on Saturday 23rd September.

LSTM would like to thank lottery players for their support in enabling this important project to go ahead.