Manuscripts and Special Collections

Mothers and Midwives - A history of Maternity in the East Midlands

This exhibition ran from January - April 2012. 

This exhibition was curated by staff from the School of Nursing working in collaboration with Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Mothers and Widwives exhibition poster

The experience of having a baby has changed dramatically over the last hundred years. It has moved from a social and domestic occurrence, which predominantly took place in the home, to a medical one which usually happens in hospital. The exhibition explored this development through historical and contemporary sources. It looked at reasons behind the change, and the impact that it has had on women, families, midwives and communities. It revealed changing trends in pregnancy, labour and postnatal care, infant feeding and baby care, and the growing involvement of fathers.

The display’s main focus was the experience of maternity in the East Midlands. It explored pregnancy, birth and the early weeks of caring for a new baby through a variety of local sources, including interviews with mothers and retired midwives, photographs, and equipment relating to midwifery and baby care. Historic material from the Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham provided examples from published sources and archives of medical understanding and practice from earlier times.

Exhibition poster

Father holding baby

Visitor comments

Excellent exhibition, interesting and informative – a rare combination

A wonderful exhibition – my third visit and I’m still learning from it

A very interesting and important exhibition. Your collections are amazing. Thank you.

Refreshing to see an exhibition about this subject!

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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651