Anatomy museums contain some of the most compelling and challenging displays of the human body. This innovative book focusing on one such museum - in Scotland's northeast - opens up a wide-ranging history of deceased bodies on display, from medieval relics, to nineteenth-century mega-collections of human remains, to the controversial Body Worlds exhibition that is touring the globe. A surprisingly varied and ever-changing material and visual culture of human anatomy emerges through this history, shaped by multiple factors, including colonialism and war, as well as shifts in medical institutions, technologies and media.Within its massive granite architecture, the Anatomy Museum of Aberdeen's medical school has grown and transformed over the last two centuries, in relation to a network of diverse yet interconnected exhibition sites. Many such medical museums in Britain have been used for professional training in which bodies after death are treated as vital sources of knowledge about the living.
Anatomists and their associates have preserved the dead and designed exhibits to expose the body's internal composition and workings, using models, drawings, photographs, X-rays, films and the flesh itself. Fascinating yet sometimes disturbing, anatomical displays, made with an array of techniques in substances such as wax, plaster and plastics, have enabled students to examine and understand bodies inside and out.Strikingly illustrated, Anatomy Museum investigates the social relationships and cultural practices that render deceased bodies visible and tangible in spaces of anatomical exploration and beyond.
Elizabeth Hallam is a Research Associate at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen. Her books include the co-authored Death, Memory and Material Culture (2001), the co-edited volumes Medical Museums: Past, Present, Future (2013) and Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts (2014), and the edited Designing Bodies: Models of Human Anatomy from Wax to Plastics (2015).
Introduction - Articulating AnatomyOne - Hand and Eye: Dynamics of Tactile DisplayTwo - Animations: Relics, Rarities and Anatomical PreparationsThree - Nerve Centre: Museum FormationFour - Skeletal Growth: Museum FormationFive - Visualizing the InteriorSix - Living AnatomySeven - Paper, Wax and PlasticEight - Relocations and MemorialsAbbreviationsReferencesSelect BibliographyAcknowledgementsPhoto AcknowledgementsIndex