To pay tribute to the 250th anniversary of James Parkinson’s birth and to continue its tradition of historical displays at its international congresses, the Movement Disorder Society, with the support from an unrestricted educational grant from Cephalon, sponsored an exhibit in New Orleans as part of its 2005 meeting. Working with the officers and the Executive Director, Caley Kleczka, my colleagues and I developed an exhibit that traced the life and times of James Parkinson in a context that honored the early advances in our understanding of Parkinson’s disease. Jennifer Goldman concentrated on the biographical details of James Parkinson and her efforts were greatly aided by a gift to me from the late Robert Currier, MD, who had long collected materials on Parkinson and gave me his collection before his death. Douglas Lanska contributed materials related to medical instruments and tools used to study Parkinson’s disease and other tremor conditions. I supplied the overview and organization, working with other MDS members to gather contributions to enrich the displays. Finally, my close artist colleague, Teresa Chmura, took our concepts and data from paper drafts and sketches into the reality of a professional exhibit. In addition to textual and art materials, a series of historical videotapes from the Movement Disorder Society Archives supplemented the exhibit. A newly created video contribution “James Parkinson’s London” by David Williams, with narration by Gerald Stern, will hopefully be submitted to Movement Disorders for peer review and thereby will likely be available through the journal in the future.
The exhibit held court at the week-long meeting, but then was dismantled and placed in storage. To retain the textual and art materials in an accessible format for interested scholars, the MDS funded the creation of this web-site presentation that has been designed and executed by Joseph Hausfeld. The video materials from the exhibit are not included, as they are largely available through the videos and DVD’s of the society’s journal, Movement Disorders.
The exhibit organizers join me in hoping that this material is accessed and utilized frequently by MDS members and other researchers interested in the historical foundations of our field. The heavy reliance on visual materials is purposeful and I encourage the study of the pictures and diagrams that depict patients and techniques of study from earlier eras, all aimed to hone the visual skills of movement disorder specialists. As the famed nineteenth century neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, emphasized to his students:
Let someone say of a doctor that he really knows his physiology or anatomy, that is dynamic—these are not real compliments; but, if you say he is an observer, a man who knows how to see, this is perhaps the greatest compliment one can make (1888).
Christopher G. Goetz, MD
Online History Exhibit – “Disclaimer Statement”
The images included in this history exhibit are used for educational purposes only. There is no financial benefit to The Movement Disorder Society from the use of these images. The exhibit organizers have acquired images to visually enhance the exhibit, and have undertaken substantial effort to locate and obtain permission of the owners of the copyright images. However, in some cases, despite our best efforts, we were unable to determine whether a particular image is subject to copyright, and if so, who the copyright owner is. We will gladly amend this site to provide ownership attribution information or remove an image if the copyright owner notifies us of same and can establish such copyright ownership.
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