Anatomical museum photographs

"Anatomical Theatre is a photographic exhibition documenting artifacts collected by and exhibited in medical museums throughout Europe and the United States. The objects in these photos range from preserved human remains to models made from ivory, wax, and papier mâché. The artifacts span from the 16th Century to the 20th, and include examples from a wide range of countries, artists, and preparators."

Hunterian Museum : London, England The skull of a young boy with a second imperfect skull attached to its anterior fontanelle. Sent to John Hunter from Bengal, India in the late 1780s.

Link (Thanks, Gilbert!)


  1. I recently took a date to the Mutter museum. Let’s just say, she no longer answers my incessant phone calls…

  2. I visited the Hunterian Museum in London a few years back. I was on a tack of visiting lesser-known tourist attractions: the John Soane’s Museum instead of the Brit, the Hunterian, a few others.

    The Hunterian is the first medical/surgical museum ever, and is located, if I remember rightly, in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. There are varying reports as to whether or not it’s open to the public, but I wandered right in without let or hindrance, and the one fellow on duty smilingly showed me how things worked.

    I was the only person there. And it’s a big place.

    It’s not as big as it once was, though. It took a direct hit from a largeish bomb in WW II, and while I don’t remember the exact numbers, its 50,000 items were reduced to about 3,000 by the damage. One exhibit shows photos of the aftermath. It’s surprising they got anything back. The roof was the new floor and the walls were non-existent.

    Ok, there may be spookier museums on this planet but I don’t know what they might be.

    [Scratch that. I do know. My Egyptology teacher told me she once went to the Cairo Museum during the aftermath of the Six-Day War. There was no power and the building was sandbagged and bunkered, but as a matter of national pride, the Egyptians insisted on keeping it open. They handed you a flashlight at the front door. Now that museum was spooky!]

    The museum is set up differently than a museum which gets a large number of visitors. There is no over-arching flow-control crowd management in the layout. The display cases are unlit. There are large brass electric switches on each case which will turn on the light while you look at it, and you’re expected to turn the light off before you move on. There is one laminated plastic card per case for you to pick up and read.

    This is not a museum for the masses. And it has things in it you will never, not ever, forget.

  3. My Egyptology teacher told me she once went to the Cairo Museum during the aftermath of the Six-Day War.

    If you turn your back on pharaonic Egypt and explore Islamic Egypt, you’ll find yourself quite, quite alone. We went to mosques which compare to the Vatican in their grandeur and there were absolutely no tourists except us. That’s the joy of having obscure interests. No waiting in line to have your picture taken with Mickey.

  4. Antinous is right; Islamic Egypt (and Coptic Egypt!) are not nearly so crowded as Pharaonic Egypt. I was in Egypt nine months after 9/11, and didn’t run into really severe crowds anywhere except Edfu. Edfu is designed for gridlock anyway.

    The mosques we went to weren’t empty by any means, but we were often the only tourists in sight. Everybody else was just there to pray.

    BTW the Coptic Museum is worth a look. “My, that’s an interesting-looking manuscript there. I wonder what it is? Hmmm….’Nag Hammadi Codex…’ GACK!”

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