Museum of Human Anatomy

Via Roma, 55 – Pisa
Fax 2218606

Department of Human Morphology and Applied Biology – Section of Human Anatomy and Histology and Medical Embryology.
Free admission – Visits by appointment – Closed: Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and in August.

The Museum of Human Anatomy is located in Pisa School of Medicine and Surgery, Section of Human Anatomy at the Department of Human Morphology and Applied Biology. Pisa was one of the first campuses to own a school of anatomy. The teaching of human anatomy began by Cosimo I de ‘Medici, who built a theater seat in the way of Wisdom. It was at that time that, by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), the dissection of human cadavers ceased to be an illegal practice to become an investigative tool, encouraged and regulated by special regulations.

From that moment began a fruitful anatomical research, woven with the physiology and pathology, which saw committed after Vesalius, other eminent anatomists such as fallopian Gabbriello (1523-1563), Lorenzo Bellini (1643 – 1704), Paolo Mascagni (1742 – 1815) and Filippo Pacini (1812-1883). And here lays the foundation for the creation of a Museum of Human Anatomy at Pisa, which could give an adequate place to many anatomical specimens of admirable workmanship and of great scientific and cultural interest. The Museum of Anatomy was established under Leopold II of Lorraine to the work of Thomas Biancini dissector and professor of anatomy and was inaugurated November 15, 1832 as the Anatomical Laboratory. In 1834 Filippo Civinini continued the work of arrangement with the description of the anatomical parts and the layout of a catalog which attracts many such objects. At that time, preparations were kept around 120, but in 1841 had already become 1327, listed in ‘"Index of articles of the Museum of Human Anatomy Physiology and Pathology-Comparative of’ Imperial and Royal University of Pisa," published in 1842. In January 1856 a new index was published in 1617 that now lists parts, anonymous, titled "The following is a summary of the articles contained in the Physio-Pathological Museum of Pisa since 1842 and collected throughout the 1855". [It is conceivable that the new index can be attributed to Peter Duranti, Professor of Human Anatomy in Pisa from 1851 to 1886, of which the Faithful (1926) wrote: "The adjustment of the great museum, it is due entirely to him, which made it easier to study on dry preparations etc.. students. "]
The Museum of Human Anatomy occupied until the late 60 on the ground floor of the anatomical section of the School of Medicine and Surgery, then, for educational needs, was transferred to the second floor of the building, where it is now. [For its initial location on the ground floor, the Museum of Anatomy was devastated by the flood of November 1944 caused by the retreating Germans blew up and that undermined the parapets of the Arno in flood. A huge mass of water, mud and debris invaded the premises of the museum, causing irreparable damage to preparations exposed on the shelves and display cases.] Among the various material preserved in the Museum of Human Anatomy, include a large osteological collection which starts from the skeleton , is prepared by steeping the fresh, up to the individual bones, which are also collected many varieties. You can then look at an interesting collection of basins, the skulls of fetuses for the study of embryology, bones of various colors for practical demonstrations of exceptional stature skeletons and skeletons of various races. Among the many skulls, two are particularly interesting: one of great educational value, presents the cranial bones do not articulate with each other (model exploded), to show their individuality, and the other cultural and historical interest, dating back certainly to the period in which the sciences of anthropology and criminology were in vogue, reports a phrenological map: on the surface of the cranium are indicated brain areas which were attributed to specific functions and abilities of the human mind. A beautiful collection sindesmologica provides several preparations showing the joints between the bones and ligament apparatus. The Department of Angiology has rather a large number of preparations on the heart and blood vessels, made with the technique of embalming and injection with plaster variously colored (red for arteries and blue veins). The most striking angiological prepared the curiosity of the observer are certainly represented by the anatomical statues, placed in elegant showcases. The preparations are of different sizes: some were obtained from cadavers and thus illustrate the entire human organism in its entirety, while others are parts of a corpse and show anatomical details. Besides illustrating the anatomy of the viscera, they are intended principally to show the vascular structures. These statues show anatomical angiologie many varieties, by number, size and topography, some very rare. Beautiful shots of the lymphatic vessels are made with mercury, according to the technique of Mascagni, but now longer of historical interest and artistic-scientific demonstration. The part covering the viscera is substantial: there are broadly represented the digestive, respiratory, nervous and urogenital tract, especially men. Most of these preparations show that whole organs or parts thereof, is stored in special jars containing alcohol or formalin. In this way it is also a fine collection of preserved fetuses and fetal annexes. In addition to the original preparations, obtained directly from the corpse, the Museum of Human Anatomy has many anatomical models made of various materials, including wax and plaster, for the older, plastic, for the most recent. There are numerous plaster casts of skulls of prehistoric provided by anatomical museums that have become famous for rare examples of the work or scientific discussion that fed. Wax, however, are models of human embryos and animals at various stages of development, models of the development of various organs, including heart, eye and central nervous system, and models of anatomy of the eye, larynx, and of ‘ear. You can also see a reproduction in wax of the human body, life-size, representing a young man, played with extreme accuracy, in an attitude of abandon that makes this model a valuable art object. The skull is opened and the dura mater is incised and removed to show the cerebral hemispheres, the chest cavity is opened and the heart is visible between the raised lung, the anterior abdominal wall was opened to expose the organs, arteries, veins and nerves are placed in their natural home. Glass into a ballot box is ultimately preserved the death mask, wax, Paolo Mascagni, the first one that perfectly described the lymphatic system. Among embryological preparations, there are different colored wax models that illustrate the most significant phases of the development of both human and animal, ranging from the earliest stages of embryonic development up to the fetus prior to birth, with the demonstration and organogenesis of ‘ volumetric growth. In particular, in a special glass case, there is a large model of human embryo that can be studied in its various sections due to the presence of a system of levers that allow the movement of different parts of the embryo. A rare collection of fetal skeletons, ranging from 60 days of life until birth, complete part embryology. The Museum of Human Anatomy also has material of archaeological interest, including a rich collection of pre-Columbian Peruvian vases.
These vessels belong to the cultures pre-Inca Chimu and Chancay the coast of Peru and date back to a period between the twelfth and sixteenth century are part of funeral and contain representations of anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or phytomorphic. At the same pre-Columbian collection belong mummies, skulls and grave goods (utensils, bowls, textiles, etc..) Which are definitely an interest in medical science. Two mummies (spontaneous mummification due to the arid climate of the Peruvian coast) are well preserved and have a typical attitude of the fetal skull also has an artificially deformed. More impressive is instead a collection of stuffed heads, from a Peruvian family whose members were beheaded: to note the heads of two children a few months. [This precious material has reached the pre-Columbian Museum of Human Anatomy in part by Peruvian excavations carried out between 1860 and 1870 by Charles Regnoli, a scholar at the University of Pisa. However, there are documents proving that in 1894 the Baroness Elisa de Boilleau, on behalf of Baron Charles de Boilleau, donated three boxes containing the then Museum mummies and other material pre-Columbian Peru. Baron Charles de Boilleau could well have material from excavations in Peru, having been French consul in Lima during the reign of Napoleon II. After the collapse of the Second Empire, he moved to Pisa in 1877, the building that still bears his name. This material pre-Columbian eventually merged, probably in the bottom of the existing Regnoli the Museum of Human Anatomy.] Among the various mummies owned by the museum, two are Egyptian. One of them is still contained in its original sarcophagus, beautifully preserved and painted in vivid colors.
This mummy was recently subjected to an examination of computed tomography (CT) which highlighted the lack of organs in the thoracic-abdominal cavity, apart from the presence of a "package" of material at a cutting anterolateral abdominal wall through which was certainly practiced evisceration, indispensable in the process of embalming practiced by the ancient Egyptians. Along the corridors of the Section of Human Anatomy, you can admire a remarkable series of anatomical plates by Paolo Mascagni, who taught at Pisa in 1800. These tables of different sizes, are in an excellent state of preservation and strikingly vivid colors and precise series that manages to discover the finest anatomical details.
Many students visit the Museum of Human Anatomy to admire the fine works of men of genius. There is a definite desire to increase educational and cultural activities that, in the belief that it is of considerable importance for the formation of young people, the spread of scientific knowledge and knowledge of its history

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