Nature Of Human Tissue Specimens Within Museum Collections

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The specimen is relatively rare with regard to other gynaecological pathology specimens, and is relatively complete, although there have been some modifications made through time for the safety of the human tissue. The specimen is significant for the interpretive potential that it holds, however it is limited by the lack of documented provenance, given that some of the information obtained is anecdotal oral history and cannot be verified through documentation. Within the last twenty years, the controversial nature of human tissue specimens within museum collections has sometimes led to their disposal, and the erosion of technical conservation skills relating to this particular type of collection. The UCL Pathology Collection has in recent…show more content…
[add source?] The first step towards further improving accessibility would be to expand public opening hours in order to attract a wider audience than simply schools and people of UCL. This could also be achieved through a more ambitious events programme that could include publically bookable talks and activities. Concerns are often raised about the appropriateness of human specimens in a class environment. However, staff at the UCL Pathology Collection have found that children are not so much frightened or disturbed by the specimens in the collections, rather they are intrigued and wish to understand more about health issues and specimen collecting in the past. In this sense, pathology collections can be a key way of presenting health concerns through object study, away from a dependence on photography and diagrams in text books. Children in particular have been shown to respond well to learning through object handling. Specimens and objects relating to the history of medicine have been identified as having an almost unique ability to profoundly impact upon museum visitors (Arnold, 1999). The inherent relatability of human organs, and the pain inflicted through the use of medical instruments, can both ignite curiosity and instil fear and repulsion. Medicine as a subject has grown exponentially to include areas such as art, politics, and commerce as well as

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