Great initiative! Elena Corradini at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy) and Marek Bukowski at the Museum of the Medical University of Gdansk (Poland) are proposing a European Anatomical Collections Network.
Elena and Marek’s idea is to launch a joint European program for the preservation, handling, and availability of
anatomical collection based on contemporary best practice in the field (the image to the right is from one of our temporary anatomical exhibitions in 2008):
They are going to present the project at the UMAC (University Museums and Collections) meeting in Lisbon in September, but as a starter they would like curators of anatomical collection around Europe to respond to a survey, with questions like:
Type of collection (anatomical and/or pathological and/or curiosity collection); date of foundation; founder’s name and collection providers and managers throughout history; primary venues (separate cabinet in University, palace or court, part of anatomical theater, etc.); researchers connected with collection; famous objects; description of kinds of objects; conservation strategy; availability, etc.
They would also like some feedback on what they think are the most important features of anatomical museums and collections, including:
- having an Anatomical Theatre for displaying anatomical performances.
- having a large variety of anatomical specimens.
- having the possibility of exhibiting historical anatomical specimens.
- having the display of human remains as an explicit exhibition strategy.
- focusing on the sense of wonder and fascination with the beauty, mystery and complexity of the body.
- drawing on visitors’ motivation for visiting the museum and their expectations of the museum.
- being intersted in the reciprocal relation between audiences and content (what is on show?) of anatomical collections.
- a focus on conservation problems.
- selcting the right kind of professionals for anatomical museums.
(Unfortunately, I cannot attend the UMAC meeting in Lisbon; hope you will all have some good days in the Portuguese late summer heat).