Ingeborg Kastman, known as Bojan, was a nurse, a matron, and the founder of a museum. She set up the Medicinhistoriska (history of medicine) museum in Gothenburg.
Ingeborg Kastman was born in Lund. She was the eldest of five children. Her parents were Gustaf Alexander Kastman, the pastor of Hardeberga (near Lund), and his wife Maria Dorothea Hasselqvist. Ingeborg Kastman never married.
On the completion of her schooling Ingeborg Kastman spent a few terms working as a ‘småskola’ (junior school) teacher in Småland. She then changed profession and applied to the Sahlgrenska hospital in Gothenburg, where she began nursing studies in 1923 and graduated in 1926. After spending a few years working as a nurse she then became matron of the former Barnbördshuset (maternity unit) on Övre Husargatan. Later, from 1933–1945, she ran the main warehouse of Sahlgrenska hospital. She remained in that post until retirement.
During the 1930s, as the new women’s clinic was about to open at the Sahlgrenska hospital, Ingeborg Kastman gathered old appliances, textiles, and equipment which lay abandoned in the attic of the old maternity unit. She selected items of interest to be preserved for the future and cleaned and refurbished the old appliances and textiles. This became the start of a collection which expanded and became well-known, and led to many voluntary contributions of old items. A particular rarity was the oldest ambulance in Sweden, which had been built in Heidelberg in 1856. The collection eventually formed the basis of the Medicinhistoriska museum, of which Ingeborg Kastman became the head in 1962.
Ingeborg Kastman lived at the Sahlgrenska hospital and initially stored all the items herself. Eventually Hugo Höglund, the hospital director, provided her with a large attic space at the hospital to house her collection. When the king inaugurated the new large Centralkomplex at the Sahlgrenska hospital in 1959 a special display of Ingeborg Kastman’s collection was organised. Following this the storage space was improved and members of the public were allowed to visit the collection on appointment. The museum space was renovated and the new museum was complete in 1962 with Ingeborg Kastman in charge.
Ingeborg Kastman remained at the museum until 1975, by which time she was 74 years old. The museum was then moved to new premises at Sociala Huset, formerly Allmänna och Sahlgrenska sjukhuset at Grönsakstorget. These new premises were inaugurated in 1976 and the following year the museum opened to the public. Ten years later, in 1986, the Medicinhistoriska museum moved to the Oterdahl building, which had been the ‘second’ Sahlgrenska hospital. The museum is still there today (2018).
Ingeborg Kastman engendered a lot of admiration for her efforts. She received Göteborgs Stads förtjänsttecken (Gothenburg city merit badge) in 1954. She was made an honorary doctor of the medical faculty in 1968 and was awarded the Illis quorum medal. Further, a Gothenburg passageway had been named after her: Syster Bojans Backe at Södra Guldheden.
Ingeborg Kastman died in 1995. She is buried at the Norra cemetery in Gothenburg.