The Museum of Human Anatomy "Luigi Rolando"

One of the most important anatomical museums can be found inside the Palazzo degli Istituti Anatomici in Turin. This museum of human anatomy was established in 1739 and it was transferred to the anatomical institutes building in 1898; since then it remained virtually untouched.

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Indeed, time seems to have stopped in this "cathedral of science", as the recent restorative interventions have sought to recreate the XIX century atmosphere. Although this choice has penalized communication, the museum's exhibition maintains its original configuration. In fact, the showcases are crowded with specimens, lack internal lighting and are almost devoid of explanatory texts, as was customary in XIX century museums. Nevertheless, the museum has much to tell about the history of the collections, about scientific discoveries and about the activities of Turin's school of anatomy in the last 300 years.

In the first room of the museum we can see a monument architecture and the pictures show the celebrative aspect of this room, for this reason we can see the importance of the sciences in a city such as Turin. The second room, is dedicated to the nervous system, it was dedicated to Luigi Rolando it is a model of the anatomic school of Turin. Both rooms of the museum are decorated with a range of eleven "Lunette" done from Pasquale Baroni from Pavia in which there are some picture with: Claudio Galeno, Andrea Vesalio, Realdo Colombo, Marcello Malpighi, Luigi Rolando, Karl Ernst von Baer, Johannes Peter Muller, Theodor Schwann, Charles Robert Darwin, Giulio Bizzozero and Albert von Koelliker.

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There are 22 major shrines:

1. The pregnant woman "whit only the belly opned"
2. The 18th century "skinned man"
3. The skeletons of a giant and a dwarf
4. Ziegler's embryos
5. The "histotheque"
6. The wax of discord
7. Two Florentine "skinned men"
8. "Auzoux's man"
9. Model of the brain in wood and ivory
10. Brains for a "cathedral of science"
11. Dry brain conservation
12. The "ghost" with brain and spinal cord
13. The skeleton of Carlo Giacomini
14. Two "illustrious" microscopes
15. The craniological collection
16. Phrenology
17. The baby chimpanzee
18. The first Etruscan and Italy's first human "fossil"
19. A large atlas
20. Foetal development and pregnancy
21. Two South American mummies
22. The heart

  • The first three photos are by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (June 2010); the following ones by Ilaria Strangio ti.liamtoh|oignarts.airali#| (December 2012)

Bibliography

  • Guida alla visita, The Museum of Human Anatomy "Luigi Rolando"


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