We are delighted to share our vision for the ‘Rebuilding Bodies and Souls’ flagship project for 2016-2018. In 2016, the 75th anniversary year of the foundation of the Guinea Pig Club, and also the 10th anniversary of East Grinstead Museum opening in its Cantelupe Road premises, we feel this project is a fitting legacy for this remarkable history.
This project will tell the story of the birth of reconstructive and plastic surgery in East Grinstead during the Second World War through the eyes of the patients and the medical professionals involved, as has been the wish for nearly 70 years:
“One day someone will tell the complete story of Ward III in the way it should be told….”
(“The Maestro’s Message” by Sir Archibald McIndoe in the Guinea Pig magazine, April 1948)
We will create a lasting legacy for the 649 members of the Guinea Pig Club, of which there are 32 surviving, who, after sustaining life-changing war injuries, were rebuilt, body and soul, by the internationally renowned surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe and his dedicated team at the Queen Victoria Hospital. This legacy will engage, connect and inspire our community, students, historians, RAF personnel and volunteers, reigniting a sense of pride and place for East Grinstead, affectionately known as ‘the town that didn’t stare’.
The project will enable us to increase the Museum’s physical and virtual visitors, widen and diversify our reach, and enhance our sustainability through significantly improving the experience and quality of our services to a local, national and international audience.
A key part of the project will be the redevelopment of the Museum’s current Temporary Exhibition area into a dedicated permanent display for the Guinea Pig Club and Queen Victoria Hospital.FIND OUT MORE