The Medical Museum, built in mid 1960’s, lies within the grounds of the University Hospital Georgi Stranski, Pleven, Bulgaria. Its origins as a museum was established to showcase the medical exceptionalism of Bulgaria nationalism. The sculpture park contained monuments to nurses, doctors, founder of the hospital, and historical figures – significant to the Bulgarian nationalist cause in its struggle from Ottoman oppression. It was conceived on the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the hospital at second national medical conference and building commenced in 1966.
The following is a (rudimentary) translation of a text on the idea behind the medical museum, its founding, and what took place there in the first years of its existence:
On behalf of the Presidium of the National Assembly Radi Naydenov announced that active, organizational-medical and medical-prominent action to protect public health, the hospital was awarded the Order of Bulgaria.
Radio Sofiya transmitted the anniversary concert of the hospital’s collective. Bulgarian TV reflects the anniversary event. Local radio Vazel widely informed the Pleven public of the 100 year anniversary and of the development of the Hospital. Evening gala concert for health workers under the direction of Prof. Dr. Ivan Êaramishev. District National Council gives dinner to all 600 Servants of hospital. Directors of industrial enterprises translate into extra-budgetary account of the hospital substantial amounts 20,000 lev, which are resolved some issues <concerning> hospital wards. Centenary anniversary will further strengthen the reputation of the hospital to the public. Hospital enters its second century with an optimistic assessment.
Conducting of centenary anniversary gives cause for different judgments about the need for a national museum of the history of medicine. Bulgaria is one of the few countries that does not have such a museum, despite its rich past and present of the unique Bulgarian medicine and sufficient historical material, special medical research, archeological, and ethnographic, antropologic rich folk epic. The Museum of the History of Medicine provides an opportunity to show the role of original Bulgarian medicine in the development of world medicine and its connection with the medicine of other peoples. From the positions of these considerations, the management of Pleven hospital has set in 1965 a far more modest task to build a small museum collection, with the development of the Pleven District Hospital and some basic directions of the Regional Health Service.
In preparing the II National conference on history of medicine the idea was born to build a Pleven Medical History Museum. The building was designed by architect Atanas Petrov. It was designed and built in a very short period of time. Construction began in May 1966 years.
On 23/08/1966 year to noon, after completion of the program the first day of conference becomes official opening of the First Medical History Museum. Preliminary work on the arrangement of the museum and the park ended a few minutes before the arrival of guests. All participants in the conference head to the Pleven District Hospital, where he held the solemn meeting on the occasion of pre- and naming the name of the revolutionary doctor Dr. Peyo Beshev. After the rally MNÇ Dr. Ignatov Êiril opens first of its kind in our medical museum.
/Fig.281, 282, 283, 284 /
Left to right: academician Vasily Ternovski Dr. Boris Spirov academician Sava Ganovski, Gen.Ivan Vinarov considered muzeyna- minute exposure 23.08.1966 year.
In the coming years events are held with a certain ideological significance the opening of monuments and plates commemorating medics have contributed in the development of hospital and healthcare and medical institution in the performance of official and public debt.
More in the program of the Second National conference history of medicine is planned to be done by Pleven sculptor Angel Spasov bust monument to the patron of the hospital Dr. Peyo Beshev, which opens on 03.09.1968 years. Messages present-venitsi, citizens, the health workers our sister Dr. Beshev Sava Besheva, his battle companion Peter Êoychev of Pleven, relatives and associates of Malak × iôlik and s.Dragazhevo, V.Turnovo County. Word of character acting first secretary of GÊ BÊP Todor Alexiev. Exciting words of Dr. Peyo Beshev tell Sava Besheva Peter Êoychev. First Secretary of GÊ of Todor Alexiev BÊP opens bust monument to the patron of the hospital “Dr. Peyo Beshev 03.09.1 968 years. The monument: Sava Besheva ?? sister of Dr. Peyo Beshev. / Fig.285 and 286 /
health workers from the district of Pleven it is a place for solemn salutes. Current and future generations with a sense of respect and appreciation, will commemorate the immortal feat of nurses who died in the struggle.
/Fig.288/ Basil the Physician BOGOMIL – burned at the stake in Constantinople in 1118.
The same day they founded two monuments, a memorial to Dr. Stefan Kozarov manager of the hospital during the period 1896 – 1912 and Dr. Kiril Stanimirov Head of Urology Department 1963 – 1969 year and plaque of nurse Stefana Kolcheva and honey .- Paramedic Stoyan Neshev who died in 1913 of cholera <?> in the performance of duty. /Fig.289/
With a minute of silence present honor the memory of Dr. Peyo Beshev. Serve very wreaths by representatives of the state, party, public and healthcare institutions.
The event provides an opportunity for conversation with dots. Salvatore Israel that offers the Museum of the hospital in Pleven to build a memorial wall on which to ôigurirat names in epochs and events of all medical workers heroes who died in the struggle for national liberty / Fig.287 /. The memorial wall is built. Opening 02.06.1971 by Dr. Lushka Petrova sec- General of the TSÊ of PSÇR. This memorial wall highlights the profound revolutionary traditions of Bulgarian medical community.
Atanas Petrov Foundation (APF) was established at the former Medical Museum on the grounds of the University Hospital Georgi Stranski, Pleven, Bulgaria, in Autumn 2014. It is a loose artist collective that has been working on-site, creating interventions, leaving traces of works, objects and installations, which are adding to the modernist museum building and its surrounding sculpture park. It was only in 2016 that the architect of the museum, Atanas Petrov, an initially unidentified figure, came to know of the museums re-existence. APF visited his hometown of Gorsko-Kosovo, and more details of the architects life and building activity became known.
The Foundation centres on the formulation of knowledge and artistic practice, creating a body of work with an unspecified character, defining multiple positions beyond past ideologies and incorporates the sense of legitimate decentered subjects.
In order to construct an identity of many forms, a multi faceted characterisation which constitutes the work of many artists, ambiguously arranging and rearranging the subject; the dividual constructed self is recognised as the dialectic interplay between local and global.
Through recuperation of the medical museum, APF enhances possible benefits to patients and visitors of the medical institution, but also describes how artistic practice can provide a service in the function of care, and how this can in turn inform artistic practice. APF questions how the role of the artist as service provider can be informed through consultation with the institution for the benefit of the patient/visitor.
APF aims to open the space for patients, visitors and medical institution staff to engage with, providing a facility of care only a short distance from the surgical theatres, examination rooms and wards of the medical institution. Recuperation can be taken as recuperation of the medical museum and care of its histories and futures, care as a service to the patient, care within the institution, care of the museum park and its environment; It is not the intention to envisage all factors as equal, but that all are present in the same specificity (site) and shall continue to have possible futures if we care for them properly.
APF differentiates modes of agency by providing a service within the context of the other institution, acting as a parasitic form of institutionality, motivated by the care and recuperation of individuals, technical or other.
APF’s modes of existence, starting with the medical museum, has the intention to continue to resolve the foundation in other forms of existence, and will look for avenues, spaces and patterns to continue to disturb and redefine.