Skip to main content

Full text of "Medical museums : with special reference to the Army Medical Museum at Washington : the President's address, delivered before the Congress of American Physicians and Surgeons, September 20, 1888"

See other formats


MEDICAL MUSEUMS, 

WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE ARMY 
MEDICAL MUSEUM AT WASHINGTON. 


THE PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS. 
Delivered before the Congress of American Physicians 
and Surgeons, September 20, 1888. 


BY 

JOHN S. BILLINGS, M.D., 


SURGEON, U. S. A. 







41 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS, 

WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE ARMY 
MEDICAL MUSEUM AT WASHINGTON. 


THE PRESIDENTS ADDRESS. 
Delivered before the Congress of American Physicians 
and Surgeons, September 20, 1888. 


BY 

JOHN S. BILLINGS, M.D., 

SURGEON, U. S. A. 



TUTTLE, MOREHOUSE & TAYLOR, PRINTERS. 
New Haven, Conn. 







THE PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS. 


BY JOHN S. BILLINGS, M.D., 
SURGEON, U. S. A. 


ON MEDICAL MUSEUMS, 

WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE ARMY MEDICAL MUSEUM 

AT WASHINGTON. 

Gentlemen of the Congress : — Our articles of confederation 
require that the President shall give an address. In endeavoring to 
comply with this regulation I must ask your indulgence, for, while I 
think I have something to say, I cannot give you such a discourse as 
would befit the audience, the occasion and the subject. 

The prominent characteristic of the great majority of the societies 
composing this Congress is that their members have, as a rule, been 
chosen because they have either made some valuable contribution to 
medical literature, or have in some way, rendered aid to the profes¬ 
sion ; in other words they are supposed to be men whose labor and 
thought have not been confined to their own interests, or to those of 
their own patients. It may, therefore, be assumed that you are all 
interested in medical science, not merely as a means of giving new 
modes of diagnosis or of treatment, but also for its own sake, for the 
sake of knowing, for the pleasure of investigation, and in the hope of 
helping others, and that, while the majority have devoted themselves 
more or less to special branches, they have not, in so doing, lost inter¬ 
est in what may be for the general good of the whole profession. 

I am here as the representative of the medical department of the 
general government, which has need of the best knowledge of all the 
specialities, and is beginning, in its turn, to do something for each. 

The physicians in the government service are all general practi¬ 
tioners, and are expected to have such an education and training as 
will fit them to deal, alone and without consultation, with the diseases 
and injuries to which men, women, and children are liable. You have 
been, and still are, their teachers—in the lecture room and the hos¬ 
pital before they entered the service—in your text books, mono¬ 
graphs, and contributions to journals or transactions which follow 



356 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


them to them widely scattered posts of duty. They are your warm 
friends; the more you discover, the greater your skill, the more 
recognition which your work receives, the better they are pleased. 

Within the last twenty-five years the general government has, in its 
turn, done something for medicine and for you, by founding and 
maintaining a medical library and museum in Washington under the 
direction of the Medical Department of the Army. 

I have had occasion several times to call attention to the library, 
which no doubt is that part most immediately useful to physicians, 
and which has attracted most attention. To-night I propose to speak 
of the other branch, in whose proper development it is desirable that 
you should take an intelligent interest, and after giving a brief sketch 
of the development of modern medical museums we will consider more 
especially our own national medical collection as it is, and as it ought 
to be.* 

The origin of collections of objects of natural history was possibly, 
as suggested by Beekman, the custom of keeping curious objects in 
temples ; but we have no record of the formation of any collections, 
specially connected w'ith anatomy or medicine before the sixteenth 
century. It is true that human anatomy had been introduced in the 
schools by Mundinus in 1306, and that no doubt in Bologna, in Paris, 
and a few other places, a skeleton or two was preserved for purposes 
of instruction ; but alcohol was unknown as a preservative before the 
end of the fifteenth century, anatomical details were of no interest 
until Vesalius had stirred up controversy with the Galenists, and 
injected preparations were not thought of until after Harvey’s 
announcement, in 1628, of the discovery of the circulation of the 
blood.f 

* As a “ museum,” in the original sense of the word, is a building or place in which 
are collected objects of interest to the muses—that is, objects of art literature, etc.—the 
phrases “medical museum,” “museum of pathology,”—etc., would have seemed quite 
improper in the days of Hippocrates, just as the prevailing pronunciation of the word 
mu'seum grates on the ears of the elders accustomed to the strictly proper way— i. e. 
muse'um. Custom has, however, so strongly sanctioned the use of the word museum 
in the sense of a collection of different articles, that it would be folly to attempt to give 
it a more limited signification, and, though lexicographers still recognize only the word 
as accented on the penultimate syllable, the tendency to accent the first syllable is so 
strong and constant that it is safe to predict that mu'seum will, in popular usage in this 
country, ultimately win the day. 

\ For accounts of the collections formed between the days of King Solomon and the 
end of the seventeenth century, consult tome ii. of the Musei Museorum of Michael Bern- 
hard Valentin, in folio, published at Frankfort in 1714, wherein are curious engravings 
of many of the wonders contained in these museums. See, also, Hagen (H. A.), The 
history of the origin and development of museums, American Naturalist, 1876, x., p. 80. 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


357 


The introduction of the use of the microscope at the beginning of 
the seventeenth century, and the collections of preparations for use 
with this instrument made by Leeuwenhoek and Ruysch, gave a 
powerful stimulus to formation of museums of this kind. The most 
famous of these collections was that of Ruysch, purchased in 1717 by 
Peter the Great, and sent to St. Petersburg. Ruysch was practically 
the first to prepare injected anatomical specimens for permanent pres¬ 
ervation, and, if the stories told of his work are true, he made prep¬ 
arations which have never been surpassed. His museum was a very 
ornamental one, the bones and skeletons being arranged in various 
devices, the plants in bouquets, while scattered through the whole 
were beautifully engrossed sentences from the Latin poets. 

The most famous medical museum in the latter half of the eight¬ 
eenth century was that founded by Fontana, at Florence. This still 
exists, filling a series of rooms, and consists mainly of wax prepara¬ 
tions, beautiful to look at, but inaccurate, and of little scientific 
value.* 

During the first half of the present century a number of private 
collections were formed by anatomists, pathologists and surgeons. Most 
of these have become public collections, either by gift or purchase, 
and the rest have been dispersed or destroyed. There is not in exist¬ 
ence, at the present time, any large collection of specimens pertaining 
to human pathology which is the property of an individual, and is at 
all comparable to those made by John or William Hunter, Astley 
Cooper, Howship, Liston or others. Commenting on this fact, Sir 
James Paget writes me that he does not know of any large private 
pathological collection, and that he believes the change to be entirely 
for the better. 

The necessities of modern progress in anatomy, physiology and 
pathology, have led to the creation of medical museums in all parts of 
the civilized world. In most of the continental capitals these are con- 

* The first use of wax models to represent pathological specimens of dissected prep¬ 
arations of parts of the human body is attributed to a Sicilian priest, Gaetan Jules 
Zambo, who lived in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and who had been 
accustomed to make wax models of diseased or deformed hands, feet, etc., to be used as 
ex voto offerings at the shrines of certain saints. The fame of these induced a Florentine 
surgeon, Eicci, to visit the priest and to get him to model some pathological specimens 
which he furnished. A Franciscan, named Desrones, brought this art to France, and 
made many such models between the years 1703-1706, and Bianchi formed a large col¬ 
lection of the same kind in Italy. It was scattered after his death, and the last vestiges 
of it were two models representing a healthy and a diseased liver, which were to b© 
seen in Innspruck in 1766. (Percy et Laurent, in Diet, des Sci. Med., Paris, 1818, vol 
xxxv., article “ Museum.”) 


358 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


nected with universities supported by the state. In Great Britain and 
in this country they are, as a rule, connected with private, or semi- 
private institutions for medical teaching. This difference is caused 
by the relative position which medicine holds in the educational 
machinery of the state in different countries. Where medical educa¬ 
tion is furnished by institutions directly supported by the government, 
the museums, which are a part of the apparatus required, are of course 
also supported by the government. 

Through the aid of friends, whose kindness in replying, or in obtain¬ 
ing replies, to somewhat troublesome inquiries, I cannot sufficiently 
acknowledge, I have obtained certain data with regard to some of the 
most important medical museums now existing in the world, and a 
part of these data are summarized in the table before you.* Evidently 
the city having the most valuable aggregate of anatomical and patho¬ 
logical specimens at the present time, is London, which contains the 
collections of the Royal College of Surgeons, of St. Thomas’s, Guy’s, 
St. Bartholomew’s, St. George’s and other hospitals, and of University 
College, the College of Physicians, and others. The oldest public 
anatomical museum in London is probably that of St. Bartholomew’s, 
which, in 1726, had a room set apart for the purpose under the charge 
of John Freke, and which received the private collection of Abern- 
ethy. The most important medical museum in the world, and the one 
which has exercised the greatest influence in giving direction to ana¬ 
tomical and pathological studies, and in serving as a model for the 
formation of other collections, is undoubtedly that of the Royal Col¬ 
lege of Surgeons of London, the foundation of which was the collec¬ 
tion made by John Hunter, purchased by the government in 1799. In 
one sense it is not a government institution, the funds from which it is 
now supported not coming directly from government grants ; but, in 
another sense, it is truly such, since the College may be looked upon 
as an agent of the government having special charge of matters con¬ 
nected with medical education, as it is the principal examining body 
for those proposing to practise surgery in Great Britain. 

The great value of the Hunterian collection lies in the breadth of 
its scope, which includes every branch of medical science; but it is 
preeminent in illustrations of human morphology and its abnormities. 
The museums of the great hospital medical schools are relatively richer 
in the department of pathological anatomy, specimens of which they 
have greater facilities for obtaining. Among these there is, of 
course, a certain amount of duplication of matters of interest; but no 
two pathological specimens are precisely alike, and the question dis- 

* See Appendix. 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


359 


cussed in the Paris school one hundred and fifty years ago, viz: “ An 
;pro distinctis cegris cegritudines diversce?” is one that often occurs to 
a curator as he examines new specimens which differ but little from 
those already in his collection, but which do differ in some respects, 
and with regard to which he must decide as to whether, upon the 
whole, they are worth the trouble and cost of preservation. 

Edinburgh and Dublin have also each large and valuable collections 
pertaining to anatomy and medicine.* In Paris the medical museums 
are those of the Faculty of Medicine, including the Musee Dupuytren 
devoted to pathological anatomy, and the Musee Orfila devoted to 
human and comparative anatomy, materia medica, natural history and 
instruments and apparatus. 

Professor Leon Le Fort, to whom I am indebted for data with 
regard to these collections, remarks that a large proportion of the 
anatomical specimens of the Orfila museum come from candidates who 
take part in concours opened for position connected with the anatomi¬ 
cal teaching of the faculty—such as prosectors, demonstrators, etc., 
each candidate being required to furnish from ten to thirty specimens. 

The medical museums of other European countries are connected as 
a rule with universities, and it is to be remembered that in these the 
different branches of medical instruction are each both more special¬ 
ized and more comprehensive than is the rule with us. The professor 
of anatomy, of physiology, of pathology, has each his own building or 
institute, and, therefore, each his own museum ; and unless this fact 
be held in view, comparisons between Continental and English, or 
American, medical collections may give very erroneous results. 

With regard to the museums connected with American Medical 
Schools I will say little, referring you to the table and appended notes 
for such data as I have been able to collect. I am aware that in so 
doing I put aside a splendid opportunity to enlarge upon the general 
superiority of all these collections and the peculiar excellencies of each, 
but I think that you all know as much about these as I do and there 
is time only for details with regard to the one American Museum in 
which I am specially interested. I will say only that the best museum 
connected with a medical school in this country is the Warren Museum 
in Boston, and that the history of the collections of wax models, upon 

* I am indebted to Sir James Paget for the information given with regard to the 
greater number of the British museums. I had originally intended to attempt to obtain 
such data only from four or five of the largest; but on sending my little list of ques¬ 
tions to Sir James he took such a kindly interest in the matter as to send a copy of 
these queries to a number of other museums with the request that they might be 
answered. 


360 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


which several of our museums have expended large sums of money, is 
very instructive as to how not to do it. 

So far as mere number of specimens is concerned our own national 
medical collection is one of the eight largest in the world, and is 
increasing more rapidly than any other. 

This collection, known as the Army Medical Museum, owes its 
inception to Dr. Wm. A. Hammond, one of whose first acts after 
becoming Surgeon-General, in 1862, was to issue a circular stating that 
“as it is proposed to establish in Washington an Army Medical 
Museum, medical officers are directed diligently to collect and to for¬ 
ward to the office of the Surgeon-General, all specimens of morbid 
anatomy, surgical or medical, which may be regarded as valuable ; 
together with projectiles and foreign bodies removed, and such other 
matters as may prove of interest in the study of military medicine or 
surgery.”* By the end of the year over a thousand specimens had 
been collected, and the catalogue printed in 1866 showed that it con¬ 
tained 7716 specimens. To the administrative ability and personal 
influence of Surgeon-General Joseph K. Barnes, we are indebted for 
the successful establishment of this Museum on a permanent basis, and 
to the labors of Doctors John H. Brinton, J. J. Woodward and George 
A. Otis, of the Army, are due its scientific value and importance. It 
is not my purpose in this address to trace the history of its develop¬ 
ment ; that must be done elsewhere. It has recently been placed, with 
the Library, in a conveniently arranged fire-proof building, and on the 
first of July last contained over 15,000 specimens besides those con¬ 
tained in its microscopical department, divided as follows: 


Comparative Anatomy. 1,689 

Pathological. 8,354 

Medals. 384 

Microscopical specimens.10,416 

Normal Human Anatomy.. 2,961 

Instruments and Apparatus. 814 

Microscopes. 141 

Miscellaneous. 835 


Besides these there are 375 specimens pertaining to normal human 
anatomy and 726 to pathological anatomy, which are in what is called 
the provisional series. 

It is not, however, by number of specimens that the importance and 
value of museums of this kind can be judged ; and in this case such a 
comparison would give an exaggerated and erroneous idea of the value 
of this collection. My object in this address is not to boast of what 

* Circular No. 2, Surgeon-General’s Office, Washington, D. C., May 21, 1862. 










MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


361 


we have, but to indicate what we want; to point out what a National 
Medical Museum, arranged to meet the wants and interests of this 
country, should be, should have, and should do, and to suggest some 
of the ways in which this is to be brought about. 

At first the Army Medical Museum was limited to military medical 
subjects, but of late years its scope has been greatly broadened, and is now 
nearly the same as that of the Royal College of Surgeons. It includes 
human anatomy, physiology, pathology, somatological anthropology, 
instruments and apparatus, and illustrations of methods of teaching 
connected with special departments of practical medicine. It does not 
at present include hygiene or materia medica, except in their immediate 
relations to the military medical service, and this for reasons which will 
be stated presently. That our National Medical Museum should be 
broad and comprehensive in its scope there can be no doubt, its 
requirements in this respect being quite different from those of collec¬ 
tions formed and used more especially for the purpose of teaching 
medical students. The most practically valuable of these last are 
those formed by individual professors to suit their own specialties and 
methods of teaching. They need not, as a rule, be large. I may 
even say that they should not be large ; for the labor of properly pre¬ 
serving a large collection is great, and the student, with his limited 
time and want of knowledge of what to look for, can examine but few 
specimens so as to profit by them. For the same reason specimens of 
rare abnormities, of double monstrosities, etc., are of little use in ordi¬ 
nary medical teaching as given in this country, and are not specially 
desirable in the museums of our medical schools. 

You may have noticed that, in speaking of the scope of our mu¬ 
seum, I said it included “ human anatomy.” This phrase does not 
mean that it has no specimens illustrating the structure of other ani¬ 
mals,—for it has many, and needs many more; but it means that in 
this department its main purpose is not to make comparative anatomy 
an end to itself by exhibiting all known variations in structure 
throughout the animal kingdom as a basis for their study in relation 
to development and environment, causation and results. In other 
■words, it is not an anatomical museum but a medical museum. The 
broad field of general biology, including natural history and compara¬ 
tive anatomy, will ultimately be covered by the National Museum, and 
in our medical collection it will be quite enough to illustrate human 
anatomy fully, using so much of the structure of the lower animals 
as will be useful in explaining w r liy certain parts of the human body 
are thus, and so, and not otherwise. No sharp line of distinction can 
be drawn between the field of work of the general, and that of the 


362 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


medical museum. So far as morphology is concerned, they must nec¬ 
essarily overlap somewhat, since both want a certain number of the 
same specimens, although using them to illustrate different points of 
view. 

The medical museum should possess a series of specimens showing 
the normal anatomy of the domestic animals, or of animals used in 
experimental pathology, pharmacology or physiology as a basis for 
comparison with abnormal or pathological specimens derived from the 
same animals. It is in the section of embryology, illustrating laws of 
heredity and development, that specimens from the lower animals are 
most interesting, and this is especially the case in the study of human 
abnormities and monstrosities. It is quite possible that to some anat¬ 
omists it may seem that no limitation should be placed to the scope of 
the museum in this direction, for it is easy to trace some connection 
between any variation in structure in any animal and some structure, 
normal or abnormal, in man, but the limitation is placed, with refer¬ 
ence to the work of the National Museum, so as to secure the best 
results.* 

The kind of specimens most valued for illustrating anatomy in a 
museum is now very different from what was sought for in the first 
half of this century. Dried and varnished dissections showing blood¬ 
vessels, etc., are now looked on as nearly useless, and are kept only as 
historical relics. Elaborate dissections under alcohol, mounted in 
opaque dishes, with flat glass covers, and sections of frozen bodies, 
similarly mounted, are what the student and the practitioner most de¬ 
sire to see. In our museum there are some excellent specimens of this 
kind, prepared under the direction of Professor His, of Leipzig; or 
Professor Cunningham, of Dublin; and by our own anatomist, Dr. 
Wortman. These, however, are only samples to show how the work 
should be done. We require several hundred such specimens to illustrate 
properly regional anatomy in relation to age and sex, while the possi¬ 
ble applications of the same methods to the illustration of visceral 
displacements, hernias and deformities of all kinds are boundless. As 
regards physiology, but little can be done by museum specimens to 
illustrate function as distinguished from form and structure. The so- 
called physiological series in the Hunterian collection, is a series of 
organs illustrating variations in different families of the animal king- 

* In the great majority of medical schools in this country anatomical teaching has a 
much more limited field than in the German universities, and our professors of anat¬ 
omy, following English traditions, are usually in training for surgery. We have, how¬ 
ever, several who are devoting their entire work to anatomy in the broad sense, and 
for its own sake, and it is in this direction that progress will be made. 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


363 


dom or at different ages; in other words, it illustrates ontogenic and 
phylogenic development. The things students or teachers of physi¬ 
ology are most anxious to see in a museum are specimens of instru¬ 
ments and apparatus employed in experimental physiology, or in the 
measurement of the special work of different organs, or in illustrating 
lectures on physiology. Illustrations of results obtained in experi¬ 
mental pathology often belong quite as much to physiology; as, for 
example, specimens of results of Gudden’s atrophy method. 

The Army Medical Museum has only a beginning of such an ana¬ 
tomical collection as I have indicated as desirable. Like all other mu¬ 
seums, it is richer in specimens illustrating osteology than in any other 
branch of anatomy, simply because such specimens are the easiest to 
obtain and preserve. We are accustomed to think that human anat¬ 
omy is nearly exhausted as a field for original research, and that, at 
all events, every important organ or muscle or nerve has been figured^ 
described and named. Granting this, so far as the adult is concerned, 
although it is by no means true even for him, we have still to study 
the development of each of these organs or groups of organs, as seen 
at different ages, and, for some of them, in different races. As fast 
as these points are seen to be of practical interest, either in connec¬ 
tion with diagnosis or the surgical treatment of disease, they are in¬ 
vestigated ; but an ideal museum should furnish the investigator the 
means for his researches ; and it must, therefore, collect specimens 
without special regard to what is at present known to be their practi¬ 
cal interest. The collection of such series of specimens of each joint, 
region and organ, as I have in mind, including sections and dissections 
at different ages from the earliest appearance in foetal life to extreme 
old age in man, and in many cases in the lower animals, is a slow pro¬ 
cess. Such specimens, and especially such series of specimens, can 
only be prepared by a skilled anatomist, and there are few such j 
hence, the formation of our ideal anatomical collection, limited though 
its scope may be, must be a work of time.* 

There is ample material and scope for original work for half a dozen 
skilled anatomists for many years to come to supply the demands of 
this museum for illustrations of human morphology in its various rela¬ 
tions, and it is not desirable to scatter effort over too wide a field. 

The pathological section of a medical museum is its main feature, 
being, as Mr. Fowler remarks, the section to which, in the eyes of 

*As Sir William Turner remarks: “Where a question in human embryology hinges 
upon on examination of parts in a very early state of development, we have often to 
wait for many years before an appropriate specimen falls into the hands of a compe¬ 
tent observer.” 


364 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


Hunter and his successors, all others form merely the introduction. It 
is true that to some physicians, specimens in this department seem to 
have little value ; but they are balanced by those physicians whose 
chief interest in a case of disease is to get a post-mortem. No doubt 
much of the ancient pathology, and some of that which is quite re¬ 
cent, is comparable to the looking in the dark for a black spot which 
is not there, but those who despise pathology, and devote their entire 
attention to symptoms and treatment, err as much on one side as those 
who talk and act as if a knowledge of pathological anatomy could 
take the place of clinical experience do on the other. I do not know, 
however, that the doctrine usually preached, viz: that each man should 
attain the just mean in his views, is a true one. Certainly it is not 
the principle on which the universe seems to be constructed ; the bal¬ 
ance is maintained, not by having everything exactly symmetrical, but 
by excess in one direction balancing excess in another. 

To secure pathological specimens in their most instructive forms for 
museum purposes requires, in many cases, not only considerable varia¬ 
tion from the usual routine methods of post-mortem examinations, but 
very considerable delay in ascertaining the results. If, for example, 
we wish the best specimens of the results of cerebral disease, the brain 
must not be removed and sliced up in the usual manner ; it should be 
hardened in situ to a certain extent, and its sections should be care¬ 
fully considered with reference to their preservation in their relations 
to each other before they are actually made. There is need of a 
treatise by a skilled pathological anatomist giving such methods in 
detail from the modern point of view. 

Thus far, the great majority of contributions of pathological 
material to our museum have been made by army medical officers ; 
but some of the most valuable specimens have come from practi¬ 
tioners in civil life and it is to these last that we must appeal for 
illustrations of the effects of disease in all parts of the country. 
There are difficulties in the way, of course. The physician in private 
practice does not make post-mortem examinations in five per cent, 
of the deaths of patients under his charge, and when he does come 
into possession of an interesting specimen he is very naturally inclined 
either to keep it himself, especially if it is an osteological one which 
can be preserved with little expense or trouble, or to put it in the 
little collection which has been formed at the dispensary, or asylum, 
or hospital. I hope, however, that when it becomes known that we 
are trying to form in Washington a complete medical museum for the 
benefit of the whole medical profession, and that we have the means 
of permanently and securely preserving and exhibiting to the best 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


365 


advantage the specimens sent to us, I say that I hope and believe that 
when this is understood, many physicians will be willing to take a 
little trouble, and to give up something of their very natural impulse 
to keep a trophy of their skill, or a curiosity to talk about, in order 
to promote the general good. 

As a rule, single specimens of abnormity or of disease have little 
scientific value ; it is only when they are associated with others that 
they both furnish and receive light. To this audience it is unneces¬ 
sary to give other reasons as to why physicians should contribute 
material to the national collection, nor as to why the curator of this 
collection is justified in being very bold in requesting such material; 
hut there is one objection to parting with certain specimens which is 
sometimes made, and to which I will refer, because it brings up one 
of the ways in which our ideal medical museum can meet a practical 
need of the family practitioner. The objection I refer to is, that the 
specimen may be important from the point of view of medical juris¬ 
prudence ; that it has a special bearing in certain suits for malprac¬ 
tice, etc., and that, therefore, the owner wishes to keep it to be used 
as testimony to protect himself or his neighbors. There is some truth 
in this ; but it is also true that such specimens brought together in 
the national museum would be just as available as ever for the pro¬ 
tection of the rights of the individual physician, while they would 
also be available for the benefit of the whole community. 

Whether the specimens preserved are, or are not, desirable for and 
useful to the museum, it is certain that the securing and forwarding 
them is a very useful thing to the physician who does it. It tends to 
keep him in touch with current living thought and work of the profes¬ 
sion, to direct his attention to the connection between symptoms and the 
mechanism of their production, which is often so important in decid¬ 
ing on the remedy to be used, and, above all, it gives him an interest 
in other men’s work, and thus broadens his views and increases his 
knowledge and pleasure. 

Having obtained the specimens, the next difficulty is so to prepare 
and preserve them that they shall be available for study. The great 
majority cannot be preserved in such a manner as to retain their 
natural color, size and texture. No doubt more might be done in 
this direction than is usually done. It is possible to stain or paint 
portions of specimens in such a way as to give some idea of the 
normal appearances, but thus far, I think, experience shows that the 
best medium for the permanent preservation of wet pathological 
specimens is alcohol, and this will contract and harden most tissues, 
and remove the color from nearly all. It is also an expensive mode 


366 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


of preservation for large collections, and requires constant care to 
prevent the effects of evaporation. It does not follow, however, that 
such specimens are of little value, and that, as some have urged, it 
would he better to seek to obtain records of the results of disease by 
colored drawings or models. The pathological specimen, whether 
seen at the post-mortem, or years afterward in a museum, is, to the 
scientific pathologist or to the practical physician, merely a sign or 
hieroglyph of the morbid process which has produced it ; it is a 
result, in most cases, of interest not in itself, but because of the pre¬ 
ceding phenomena which it connotes. As Sir James Paget has said, 
the same objection, viz : that museum specimens are unfit for the 
teaching or the study of pathology, might be made to the study of 
botanical specimens in an herbarium. “In both cases alike, the 
changes produced by preparation are so far uniform that any one 
accustomed to recent specimens (and no others should study either 
herbaria or pathological collections) can allow for them or ‘ discount ’ 
them. Just as an anatomist can discern, in a recent specimen of 
disease, the healthy structure; so, but often much more clearly, can 
the pathologist or any careful student discern in the prepared speci¬ 
men the chief characteristics of the disease.”* Colored drawings, 
casts and models are of great value in supplementing original speci¬ 
mens, but they cannot wholly replace them. 

A good preparation, whether of normal or abnormal structure, but 
especially the latter, is valuable, not only for what we can see in it, 
but also for what we overlook or misinterpret, and which our suc¬ 
cessor may see, and see rightly. In this it is better than a mere 
description, yet the latter is equally necessary and much more easily 
preserved and made generally useful. Next to the preparation itself 
in accuracy and completeness of record is the photograph, and next 
to this is a good model, or a careful drawing.f 

In medical and surgical matters, as in most other things, we habitu¬ 
ally think in terms of vision as interpreted by touch. Hence, in part, 
the importance of the so-called object-teaching, and the fact that 
what the medical lecturer shows his class will usually be much better 

* British Medical Journal, 1880, ii. 

f To realize the value of a good drawing, one should consult the illustrations of the 
works of Yesalius, Eustachius and other anatomists of the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries. The dissections and preparations which they made perished long ago. It is 
true, that there is still in existence, at Basle, a skeleton prepared by Yesalius; and 
possibly a few other osteological specimens preserved by the older anatomists and 
pathologists may still be in existence, but, as a rule, to which there is almost no excep¬ 
tion, we must depend on the plates of these old folios to get at the true meaning of 
the text. 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


367 


remembered and understood than what he says to it. And, while 
pictures and diagrams are of great assistance they are by no means as 
instructive and suggestive as representations in three dimensions, i. e., 
models, if the thing itself is not available. 

One of the most important sections of our museum is that devoted to 
microscopy, including normal and pathological histology and photo¬ 
micrographic work. In the cabinets there are nearly 11,000 mounted 
specimens, illustrating almost every field of microscopical research. 
Many of these were made twenty years ago and more, and were 
mounted by processes which have not given good results, so that Dr. 
Gray, who is in charge of this section, estimates that about 3000 will 
be set aside as worthless ; but the rest form a very valuable series to 
which additions are being constantly made, and materials for which 
we are specially anxious to obtain. In connection with this section a 
series of cultures of chromogenic and pathogenic bacteria is kept up 
for museum exhibits, and also to illustrate methods of work. 

While the great majority of the specimens in a medical museum 
have some relations to diagnosis, prognosis, or therapeutics, the num¬ 
ber of those which are of direct interest to the so-called practical 
physician is not very great. It includes models and casts illustrating 
dermatology, morbid growths, the results of amputations, excisions, 
plastic operations, etc., and instruments, apparatus, dressings, etc., of 
all kinds. Here also may be classed hospital fittings and furniture, 
means of transportation for sick and wounded, model cases of instru¬ 
ments, emergency chest, etc. Our medical museum has a fair begin¬ 
ning of a collection of this kind, including over a thousand specimens; 
but many more are needed to make it reasonably complete. If each 
medical man who devises a stethoscope, a pessary, a speculum, an 
ophthalmoscope, or an electro-therapeutic appliance with which he is 
well pleased, would send a specimen to the collection, its increase 
would certainly be rapid, and it could always show the latest improve¬ 
ment. 

An ideal medical museum should be very complete in the depart¬ 
ment of preventive medicine, or hygiene. It is a wide field, covering, 
as it does, air, water, food, clothing, habitations, geology, meteorology, 
occupations, etc., in their relations to the production or prevention of 
disease, and thus far has had little place in medical museums, being 
taken up as a specialty in the half dozen museums of hygiene which 
now exist. 

Our own National Museum of Hygiene, is, as you know, under the 
direction of the Medical Department of the Navy. It is a very inter¬ 
esting collection of sanitary appliances of various kinds ; but it is not 


368 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


well housed, is much overcrowded, and its location is so inconvenient 
that it receives but few visitors, and, therefore, has by no means the 
educational influence that it ought to have. It should be provided 
ample quarters in the immediate vicinity of the National and of the 
Army Medical Museums, to both of which it would form a very desir¬ 
able supplement. In our medical museum, at present, military hygiene 
only is illustrated, and this only in a few branches, such as hospitals, 
means of transportation of wounded, etc. As regards materia medica, 
an exceedingly well arranged collection, including about 5,000 speci¬ 
mens, has been formed in the National Museum, under the direction 
of the Surgeon-General of the United States Navy, mainly by Dr. 
J. M. Flint of that service. The relations of materia medica to nat¬ 
ural history, commerce, and the arts, which are subjects belonging 
especially to the National Museum, are as close as they are to medi¬ 
cine, and I am very glad that our national collection in this branch is 
where it is, and under its present management. In the Medical 
Museum we have a collection showing what is supplied in the way of 
drugs, instruments, etc., to the medical department of our army, and, 
as opportunity offers, we shall extend this to include the medical sup¬ 
plies of other armies or services. 

The extent to, and manner in, which a medical museum should deal 
with anthropological and ethnological problems are not questions to 
be discussed in the abstract with advantage, since the answers must 
differ greatly according to circumstances. In our National Museums 
the matter has been so arranged that all material relating to anthro¬ 
pometry, or to real or supposed structural differences in man according 
to race, are cared for in the Medical Museum, while specimens illus¬ 
trating manners and customs, implements, weapons, clothing, pottery, 
etc., are taken charge of in the anthropological division of the National 
collection. 

The Army Medical Museum contains what may seem a large amount 
of material relating to human osteology, and especially craniology, in 
its relations to North American ethnology, or the history of the devel¬ 
opment of different varieties of man on this continent; but it is not 
actually half large enough to permit of draAving definite scientific conclu¬ 
sions from it. The majority of the crania which it contains have been 
measured to a certain extent, and the results have been published ; 
but many other measurements are desirable to permit of comparison 
with series taken elsewhere, and even measurements already made 
must be repeated by later and better methods. We have been trying 
some experiments with composite photography and superimposed con¬ 
tour tracings as a means of obtaining typical outlines and dimensions 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


369 


for race groups of crania, and these give promise of good results. If 
the collections of crania of North American Indians in Boston, New 
York, Philadelphia and Washington could be brought together, a very 
much better average representation of the majority of tribes or groups 
would be obtained than can be furnished by either of these collections 
taken separately. By composite photography and tracings, combined 
with uniform methods of measurement, we can practically bring these 
collections together, and obtain results nearly as satisfactory as if we 
had them all in one room. We have also fitted up one large room 
with instruments and apparatus for anthropometry in its widest sense, 
including psychophysical investigation, and it is intended to make this 
a complete laboratory for illustration of methods of work. 

In London arrangements have been made to have such an anthropo¬ 
metric laboratory in an outbuilding at the South Kensington Museum. 
The two things have no connection, and it seems to have been placed 
there because it would obtain more visitors desirous of being measured 
and tested than if placed anywhere else. In this laboratory, which is, 
I believe, essentially the same sort of institution as that arranged by 
Mr. Francis Galton at the Health Exhibition in 1884, and is planned 
oy Mr. Galton, any person can have the regular series of measure¬ 
ments and tests made upon himself for a charge of six cents. There 
are difficulties in the way of making a charge for such measurements 
in a government establishment, and there are also difficulties in under¬ 
taking to do such work gratis, chiefly on account of the cost. It is, 
however, so desirable that it should be done, and the data from such 
observations systematically carried on for a series of years would be 
so valuable, not only from a scientific point of view, but for practical 
purposes in connection with life insurance interests and very possibly 
with practical medicine, that we should endeavor to overcome these 
difficulties in some way, and I think it can be done sufficiently, at 
least, to stimulate private enterprise in this direction. It is possible 
that we may yet see in large cities establishments of this kind, directed 
by skilled and reputable physicians having the confidence of the pro¬ 
fession, where not only normal but abnormal conditions can be deter¬ 
mined ; places where the secretions can be tested chemically and 
microscopically, ophthalmoscopic and endoscopic examinations of all 
kinds made, the mode of functioning of muscles and nerves determined, 
and an authoritative record of the results made for the use of the indi¬ 
vidual, as evidence of his condition, or for the information of his phy¬ 
sician. It would require an already established reputation and much 
skill and tact on the part of the director of such a laboratory, with 
absolute refusal to give prescriptions or advice in any shape, to make 
it fully successful; but it may be done. 

24 


370 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


An important feature of our national medical museum should be to 
show methods of research and of instruction for the benefit of the 
investigators and teachers of the country. This includes instruments 
and apparatus, and, to a limited extent, illustrations of the modes of 
using them and of the results ; it also includes diagrams, models, etc., 
used for illustrating lectures. For example, as soon as Koch’s 
researches became known in this country, physicians, and especially 
medical teachers who visited the museum, asked if we could show 
them the apparatus used by Koch and Pasteur in bacteriological work, 
and eagerly examined the few specimens of cultures on solid media 
which we were able to exhibit. The anatomist comes to the museum 
quite as much to see methods of mounting and preservation, as to see 
the specimens themselves ; the physiologist does not expect to see 
function directly exhibited, but he does hope to find information about 
kymographs and constant temperature apparatus, and he wants to see 
whether Kiihne’s artificial eye is so useful for teaching purposes that 
he ought to get one to illustrate his lectures. 

Medical museums are not, as a rule, freely open to the public, nor 
are they collected or arranged with reference to interesting or instruct¬ 
ing non-professional persons. The Medical Museum at Washington is 
the chief exception to this rule, and it is so, because it was placed in 
Ford’s Theatre, the scene of the assassination of President Lincoln. 
Many visitors to Washington, both men and women, wished to see 
this memorable spot, and in doing so, necessarily went through the 
Museum. This gradually led to the adjusting of the specimens exhib¬ 
ited with a view to the fact that they were to be seen by a number of 
non-professional persons of both sexes. Certain groups of specimens 
were put aside and not shown except to persons known to be physi¬ 
cians, while other groups were given prominent places because they 
interested the public, although not of great professional or scientific 
value. 

On the other hand, the public has gradually become accustomed to 
consider the Army Medical Museum as one of the “sights” of Wash¬ 
ington, to be visited by male and female, old and young, and when a 
stranger comes to the city and inquires what he ought to see, this 
museum will probably be named to him next after the National 
Museum. Since the collection has been moved into the new building 
near that devoted to the National Museum, of which it may almost 
be said to form a part, the number of visitors has rather increased 
than diminished, and it has been found desirable to consider with 
care some problems which this state of things has forced on the 
attention of the curator. That educated men and women should have 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


371 


some curiosity as to the structure of their own bodies, the functions of 
certain organs, the arrangement of parts in certain localities where 
they have felt pain or discomfort, or the changes in which have caused 
death in relatives or friends, is perfectly natural and proper, and there 
is no objection to gratifying this curiosity to a very considerable 
extent. The wonder to me is, not that boys and girls, youths and 
maidens, men and women, like to see specimens which will teach them 
something on these points, but that so many of them remain ignorant 
of, and careless about, the wonderful mechanism of their own bodies. 
Now what are the specimens in a medical museum which most interest 
the public, and in what direction is it expedient to try to direct this 
interest and to do educational work by means of the exhibits In the 
first place, the majority of men and women, when at leisure and trying 
to amuse themselves, or to pass away time, prefer things that appeal 
more or less to the emotions, rather than those which appeal only to 
the intellectual faculties. The skeleton of a hand will be barely 
glanced at; but if it were known that it had been the hand of a great 
general, a great writer or a great criminal, it would be a specimen that 
almost every one who visits the museum would wish to see. Usually 
it is not expedient, nor even possible, to furnish the personal data 
which would arouse this purely emotional interest. 

When people come to the Army Medical Museum and ask where 
General Smith’s brain, or Judge Brown’s heart, or the Hon. Mr. 
Jones’s larynx, or Guiteau’s skeleton is, and are informed by the 
attendant that he does not know where it is, and is not even certain 
that it is in the collection, there are some expressions of disappoint¬ 
ment, it is true; and sometimes the curator is appealed to as a last 
resource ; but a few words of explanation as to what the main purpose 
of the museum is, and the suggestion that one would not like to have 
his or her father’s skull displayed and labelled with his name, no 
matter how great or how infamous he may have been, is usually quite 
sufficient to satisfy the seeker. 

This addition of interest to a specimen by calling attention to cer¬ 
tain sentimental or historical associations connected with it, is not only 
proper but desirable, for all specimens not derived from the human 
body ; but for these last, the rule should be to wait a hundred years 
before publicly labelling them with the names of the persons from 
whom they are derived. 

For scientific and professional purposes we, of course, want a his¬ 
tory of the specimen, which will, as far as possible, give the data con¬ 
nected with its peculiarities, and among these may be race, occupation, 
and even name, though the emotional element does not enter into it at 


372 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


all. If, for example we have before us a specimen of cancer of the 
stomach, it might be of great interest, taken in connection with the 
symptoms, or in regard to the question as to whether pylorectomy or 
gastro-duodenostomy would have been justifiable ; but from a scien¬ 
tific point of view it would add little to the value of the specimen to 
know that it was from the body of Napoleon and not from an unknown 
soldier. 

To return to our question as to what interests the public. Of speci¬ 
mens illustrating the anatomy and physiology of man no doubt the 
most interesting to non-medical persons are those connected with 
reproduction. In the hall of the Army Medical Museum, which is 
open to the public, we do not place specimens illustrating specially the 
anatomy of the genital organs ; but we do exhibit a series illustrating 
embryology, and especially the development and growth of the human 
embryo, and there is no case in the museum before which the average 
visitor will linger longer. The specimens are clearly labelled ; a lady 
may go there alone, and, unnoticed, may at her leisure learn some¬ 
thing about her own peculiar function, and the provisions for the life 
of the new organism ; and I think she will hardly find the same facil¬ 
ities for this self-study anywhere else in the world. I do not mean by 
this that other museums may not have larger and more instructive 
collections of such specimens, d»ut that they are not available for the 
information of modest, respectable non-professional women. 

In what has been said thus far, it is chiefly the utilitarian point of 
view that has been made use of ; but this is by no means the whole 
matter. No art, and no branch of science should form the sole end 
and object of a well balanced life, and there are objects in every large 
museum which are of great interest, though they appeal rather to the 
emotional than the intellectual faculties of the spectator. There are 
many specimens in the Army Medical Museum which I would rather 
see removed than to lose John Hunter’s lancet, which has no scientific 
interest whatever. So also its collection of between three and four hun¬ 
dred medals and tokens relating to medical institutions or distinguished 
medical men, or commemorating outbreaks of pestilence or the vic¬ 
tories of preventive medicine, is one which should be made complete 
and fully displayed, though it would not be easy to demonstrate its 
utility to any one unless he were interested in the history of the strug¬ 
gles and triumphs of the medical profession. 

The objects of a medical museum are to preserve, to diffuse, and to 
increase knowledge. Its conservative function is to form a permanent 
record of what has been demonstrated and to fix the meaning of terms. 
Even in my brief experience of thirty years the terminology of anat- 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


373 


omy, physiology, pathology, chemistry and of most of the specialities 
has greatly changed, and this not only by addition of new terms, but 
by the dropping of old ones. To get useful results from the older 
literature we must know the precise significance of the old words, 
and, in some cases, the best way to learn this is to examine the speci¬ 
mens prepared by those who used such terms in their descriptions. 
The specimens in our museum which came from the collections of 
Professor William Gibson and Dr. Frank Hastings Hamilton are espe¬ 
cially valuable, because they were the basis of practical teachings, and 
should be examined by any one criticising these teachings. 

A large proportion of the pathological specimens in this museum 
illustrate conditions which now rarely occur, forming a group which 
it is safe to predict will never be duplicated. It is not only that they 
were gathered during a great war, but that they illustrate the results 
obtained when antiseptic surgery, as now understood and practiced, 
was unknown. Never again, I hope, will there be brought together 
such a collection of the effects of pyogenic microdrganisms on gunshot 
wounds, especially of bone, as may be seen in its cases. 

The museum also preserves, for future investigations, objects whose 
nature or relations are not understood at the time when they are 
received, and which occur so rarely that the means of studying them 
by comparison can only be obtained through such preservation. 

Upon the function of a museum as a diffuser of knowledge ;—as a 
means of education, it is needless to dwell. That it should also strive 
to increase knowledge is equally certain. This is to be effected by 
study and comparison of its materials. The results of such study and 
comparison of a part of the Army Medical Museum collection have 
appeared in the volumes of the Medical and Surgical History of the 
War. Another part will, I hope, soon be utilized in a study of its 
collection of human skeletons and crania which has been commenced 
by Dr. Matthews, of the Army. But a considerable part is as yet 
only in the stage of agglomeration, and our present business is to col¬ 
lect and preserve, leaving to the future its full utilization. 

A medical museum is really used, for purposes of study, by very few 
persons ; but through the teaching of those few its lessons are made 
known to the whole profession. American physicians in investigating 
a subject do not, as a rule, think of inquiring as to what museums can 
show with regard to it, simply because they have not had convenient 
access to large collections and are not accustomed to make use of them. 
Thirty years ago we were in much the same situation in respect to 
medical literature ; but as the libraries have grown, desire for bio¬ 
graphical research has grown also, and I think that in like manner 


374 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


when we have secured a comprehensive National Medical Museum it 
will not only be made use of, but will give a powerful stimulus to the 
formation and progress of other more special collections elsewhere. 

What should be the relation of this central national collection to 
those formed in different parts of the country, either in connection 
with medical schools, or with museums of broader scope ? Certainly 
they should help one another, and this can be done in many ways. I 
do not in the least object to a generous rivalry to do the best work, to 
have the most instructive and the most artistic preparations. That is 
a good thing. But I would say to the anatomist of a school, when 
you have made a preparation which is noteworthy, offer to make a copy 
for the national collection, where it will be seen by the anatomists of 
all schools and of all countries. To the pathologist of a medical 
school I would say, after you have secured type specimens for your 
own collection put aside other good specimens for the National Medi¬ 
cal Museum, which will furnish you materials for the purpose. 

On the other hand, the collections of the National Museum are 
available for study by any proper person, and its duplicates should be 
used to aid other museums which may be in special need of them. 

In common with several of the largest and most important medical 
museums, more especially those of the Royal College of Surgeons and 
of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, the Army Medical Museum has 
the advantage of being closely associated with a large medical library 
which is in the same building, and at present under the same direc¬ 
tion. The increased utility and attractiveness which this gives to 
both library and museiim is very decided. 

It is true that in some other institutions similarly arranged there 
has been some grumbling as to the proportion of funds allowed to the 
museum and to the library respectively, the museum enthusiast claim¬ 
ing that the librarian would rather have one rare old pamphlet than 
half a dozen entirely new vertebrates, while the bibliophile is sure 
that the demand of the profession for access to a full supply of books 
and journals is much greater than that for access to specimens. I can 
only say, from my own experience, that one who has charge of a 
library only, will probably not hesitate to take museum funds, if he 
can get hold of them, to buy books ; but that when one person is re¬ 
sponsible for both he will endeavor to give each its fair share of the 
resources at his command. 

If we had to choose between having a great national medical library 
and a great national medical museum, no doubt most of us would take 
the library, because it would be of more immediate use to us ; but no 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


375 


such unpleasant alternative is forced on us. There is no reason why we 
should not have both, and we must have both.* 

I have time for only a very condensed statement of the wants of 
our National Medical Museum. In the first place it needs the intelli¬ 
gent interest and friendship of the medical profession of this country. 
To a very considerable extent it has had this ; were it otherwise it 
would not be what it is, nor where it is. But it needs more of it, and 
it can never have too much. Every medical man in this country 
should help a little and provide for the perpetuation of his name as 
that of a physician interested in the progress of the profession by 
sending at least one specimen to it. It is omnivorous in its demands 
for material, as will be seen by the circular which it has recently 
issued. But I will name as special wants, human embryos, especially 
those of a very early age, monstrosities and malformations of all kinds 
in man or in the lower animals ; results of old injuries, such as frac¬ 
tures or dislocations, or of surgical operations, such as excisions, 
stumps, etc. ; injuries and diseases of the eye, ear and nose; new 
growths of all kinds ; diseases of the brain and spiual cord ; and speci¬ 
mens illustrating the condition of bones, joints, brain, larynx and 
other organs in extreme old age. 

In the second place it needs a regular supply of funds from the gen¬ 
eral government. To form and keep in proper condition such a medi¬ 
cal museum as this should be is a more difficult and expensive matter 
than those not acquainted with such work would suppose, and the 
gifts of specimens from the profession must be supplemented by am¬ 
ple means for the preparation, preservation and proper display of these 
specimens, and also for the purchase of apparatus and typical speci¬ 
mens of foreign work, in order that the Museum may be always able 
to show the latest state of knowledge and the best way of doing 
things. -• 

The annual appropriation for the Museum at present is $5,000. This 
is sufficient except that the printing of the catalogue, of which I shall 
speak presently, must be an extra charge ; but the medical profession 
should see to it that the amount is not reduced in the rhythmic spasms 
of partial economy with which some of our statesmen are afflicted. 

The third need of the Museum is of a series of the right kind of 
descriptions of its specimens, given on labels and in a catalogue. Un¬ 
aided by such descriptions it has for each man that which he can see > 
in it, and no more. One man will see nothing but an old piece of 

*“ There are few things in relation to our science of which I am more sure than this, 
that every possible method of studying it should be by all possible means promoted." 
Sir James Paget, in Lancet, January 22, 1887, p. 159. 


376 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


bone, a shapeless mass of tissue bleached by alcohol, a case of old 
dingy brass instruments. Another will see in the same things a rare 
joint atrophy, implying curious abnormal nerve influence ; a leprous 
nodule, whose history, if we knew it, would reach back through the 
lazar-houses of the middle ages to the far east, and whose bacilli may 
be the lineal descendants of those that vexed Naaman the Syrian ; a 
case of microscopes illustrating the development of that instrument, 
from the first rough iron tube of the spectacle-maker of Nuremburg 
to the delicate and complicated instrument through which we now peer 
curiously into that world which lies within the world of unassisted 
vision. By our labels and catalogues we must tell men what to see ; 
but to do this we must first see ourselves. The aphorism that a first- 
class musem would consist of a series of satisfactory labels with speci¬ 
mens attached means a good deal. Something has been done in this 
direction, as you will see on inspection of the cases ; but I often won¬ 
der what sort of labels a man who has spent years in investigating the 
normal and abnormal structure and relations of one organ would write 
for our specimens of that organ. Such help as this we need ; kindly, 
truthful criticism, the pointing out of errors and of new points of 
view for this mass of material. 

We also need a series of printed catalogues. One of these should 
be in the form of compact handbooks relating to particular sections of 
the collection, and intended partly for the use of visitors while in 
the museum and partly as a ready means of letting distant friends 
know what material it most needs in different departments. It should 
also print a complete illustrated catalogue of the whole collection for 
the use of the investigators and teachers of the profession. Congress 
has been requested to grant authority for the printing of such a cata¬ 
logue by the Government Printer. The material for it is nearly 
ready, and it would make three volumes each the size of one of the 
volumes of The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the 
Rebellion.* 

* Some large and valuable collections have no formal catalogues ; but the results 
have been published in essays, monographs or text-books by those who have formed 
them. This is the rule as regards the collections at the various anatomical and patho¬ 
logical institutes and laboratories of continental schools. I have examined most of the 
published catalogues of medical museums, partly to obtain information as to the best 
methods of doing such work, and partly to ascertain what might be worth indexing in 
them. Some of them are mere lists of specimens, of no value except for use in the 
museum itself. A few give accounts of many specimens, especially in pathology, which 
make them valuable works of reference apart from the collections themselves. To 
what extent such detailed descriptions should be made for publication, including brief 
histories of cases, depends partly on the character of the specimens, partly on the skill 
of the describer ar.d partly on whether illustrations are to be used or not. 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


377 


The subject of museum organization and management is one of 
those with regard to which it has been said that a man who is inter¬ 
ested in it passes through three successive states of mind, viz : First, 
he thinks he knows almost all about it, except a few minor points of 
detail which he is going to look up. Second, he feels that he will 
never know anything about it. Third, he believes he knows a little 
and hopes by experience and study to know more. 

The museum needs earnest and well-trained students to work up its 
collections so as to advance knowledge, and, at the same time, to dis¬ 
play properly the specimens so as to make them most instructive. To 
all such students we shall endeavor to afford opportunities for this 
work. Precisely how this is to be effected is not yet clear, but here 
is abundance to be done, and there are quite a number of men com¬ 
ing on the stage who want to do such work for its own sake, because 
it gives them pleasure. Sooner or later we shall have half a dozen or 
more of specially trained men busy in the laboratories and work-rooms 
of the museum, each engaged on his own problems, and the whole for 
the common good. 

The medical museum hints at matters which lie outside the scope 
of known physical and chemical laws. Physicians have not, as a rule, 
been very virulent theologians ; their studies and their daily work 
tend to give them compensation of bias in this particular, and, there¬ 
fore, in this age of transition in beliefs, it is not so true of them as of 
others, that “ the old hopes have grown weak, the old fears dim, the 
old faiths numb.” In our medical museum yonder may be found 
abundant illustrations of the results of physical and chemical actions 
and reactions upon what was once living matter, and was connected 
with centres of consciousness, of intellect, of emotions which imply 
something more than ordinary protoplasm, or mere metabolism. It 
brings together strange company. The men who dwelt on the sides 
of the Andes in the old Aztec days, the men who built cities in the 
Gila Valley centuries before the days of Columbus, the Esquimaux, 
and the Indian of the plains, black and white, red and yellow, all sorts 
and conditions of men are represented in those bony caskets which 
once held their centres of life and thought; but now are reckoned 
only as so many crania in the Museum catalogue. The great majority 
of the pathological specimens imply either suffering or death, or both, 
of the individual from whence they came. Some of them are the 
results of intemperance, of lust, of folly and crime; but some are the 
results of unselfish sacrifice for the good of others, true flowers of 
blood and pain. A large group of them form one of the relics of an 
acute paroxysm of disease of a great nation. The old pensioner likes 


378 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


to keep the battered ball which crippled him, and so these relics have 
an interest beyond that which is purely professional. That the nation 
is not crippled by its loss, takes nothing from their interest, and the 
fact that we are physicians does not imply that we look upon them 
from a medical or scientific stand only. Those of the combatants 
who survive are now better friends than ever, and the museum speci¬ 
mens, coming as they do from the sick and wounded of both armies, 
and contributed by both Union and Confederate surgeons, enforce the 
lesson of the unity of the profession and of its interests, as well as 
that of our country. 

Our museum, like the library with which it is associated, includes 
all the specialties. No physician is so learned or skillful that he can 
find no instruction there, and no one is so ignorant that he cannot 
comprehend some of the lessons which it teaches. Taken together 
these institutions should contribute in no small degree to our national 
prestige, for which eminence in scientific work and teaching is an 
essential element, and if it be remembered that they are only twenty- 
five years old, and that during that period we have been making 
medical history at a tremendous rate, surely some incompleteness and 
crudeness may well be excused or overlooked. 

Speaking in behalf of the army medical department, and for the 
dead as well as for the living who have been charged with this work, 
I can truly say that we have been very proud of our charge, and that 
we have done our best, each according to his capacity and oppor¬ 
tunities, to make the museum and library such as a great profession 
and a great nation have a right to demand. 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


379 


APPENDIX. 


Tables showing for some of the principal Medical Museums of the 
world, the number of specimens, the number of recent additions 
of specimens and the expenditure for the last five years. 


• 

O 

u . 

Number of specimens in each 
Department. 

&0 

A 

S*§3 

■si 

<D 

0 >» 

Locality and Name of Museum. 

Total Numbi 
specimen 

Comparative 

Anatomy. 

Normal 

Human 

Anatomy. 

Embryology. 

Pathological 

Anatomy. 

Materia 

Medica. 

Number of i 

mens added 

last five ye 

ft® 

<D 

+3 
+3 CD 

0 « 

S-g 

« 

United States. 

Albany : 

Albany Medical College Museum 1 

5500 

250 

1250 

200 

3100 

700 

770 

$ 

660 

Boston : 

Warren Anatomical Museum, 
Harvard University 2 . 

7900 






470 

8,973 

Charleston, S. C.: 
Museum of Medical College of 
State of South Carolina 3 _ 

800 




800 




Chicago : 

Chicago Medical College Museum 4 

1382 

122 

300 

10 

200 

700 



Rush Medical College Museum .. 

850 

70 

100 

50 

100 

200 

.... 

.... 

Cincinnati : 

Museum of Miami Medical Col¬ 
lege and Mussey Collection 5 ... 

3078 

450 

603 

75 

823 

1002 



Museum of Hospital and Patho¬ 
logical Department of Cincin¬ 
nati University. 

1250 




1250 



889 

Louisville : 

Museum of Medical Department 
of University of Louisville 6 ... 

1992 

276 

275 

127 

868 

446 


2,250 

New Orleans: 

Museum of Medical Department 
of Tulane University of Louis¬ 
iana 1 .. 

2500 







500 

Museum of New Orleans Charity 
Hospital. .. 

238 

6 

20 

12 

200 

.... 

.... 

.... 


1 Information kindly furnished by Dr. Joseph D. Craig, Curator. 

2 “ “ Prof. W. F. Whitney. 

“ “ Dr. R. A. Kinloch. 

4 “ “ Dr. Elbert Wing. 

6 “ “ Dr. N. P. Dandridge. 

6 “ “ Dr. J. M. Bodine. 

“ “ Dr. Rudolph Matas. 


























380 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 



O 

Number of specimens in each 
Department. 

Number of speci¬ 

mens added during 
last five years. 

T5 £ 

© ai 
rC O 

a 

Locality and Name of Museum. 

Total nurnbe 
specimen; 

Comparative 

Anatomy. 

| Normal 

Human 

Anatomy. 

Embryology. 

Pathological 

Anatomy. 

Materia 

Medica. 

&£■ 

1| 

< 3 
•O 

New York : 

Pathological Cabinet of the New 
York Hospital 8 .. 

2366 




2366 


542 

$ 

14,028 

Medical and Surgical Museum, 
Medical Department of Univer¬ 
sity of New York... 

8000 

1000 

4000 

500 

2500 


50 

7,250 

Museum of College of Physicians 
and Surgeons 9 . 

2209 

43 

214 

93 

880 

800 

196 

2,750 

Museum of the Carnegie Labora¬ 
tory 10 ... 

1200 








Wood Museum, Bellevue Hos¬ 
pital.... 

2224 

256 

282 

69 

1613 

-- -- 

.... 

.... 

Philadelphia : 

Mutter Museum, College of Phy¬ 
sicians of Philadelphia 11 . 

3700 

296 

242 

140 

3000 


248 


Wistar and Horner Museum, Uni¬ 
versity of Pennsylvania 12 _ 

7458 

919 

1355 

292 

2717 

2175 


2,950 

Museum of Jefferson Medical 
t College 13 ... 

2500 

.... 

_ 

.... 

— 

.... 

1000 

.... 

St. Louis: 

St. Louis Medical College Museum 

900 

100 

125 

75 

600 

. _ 

- - - . 

.... 

Washington, D. C.: 

Army Medical Museum_ 

14360 

1685 

2853 

108 

8354 

814 

3789 

23,356 


8 

9 

10 

11 

19 

It 

14 


Information kindly furnished by Dr. F. Ferguson. 

“ “ Dr. T. M. Prudden. 

“ “ Dr. F. S. Dennis. 

“ “ Dr. Guy V. Hinsdale. 

“ “ Dr. D. D. Richardson. 

“ “ Dr. Morris Longstreth, 

“ “ Prof. G. Homan. 

































MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


381 


Locality and Name of Museum. 

Total Number of 

specimens. 

Number of specimens in each 
Department. 

Number of speci¬ 

mens added during 
last five years. 

Amount expended 

during last five years. 

Comparative 

Anatomy. 

Normal 

Human 

Anatomy. 

Embryology. 

1 

Pathological 

Anatomy. 

Materia 

Medica. 

Great Britain. 








$ 

Birmingham : 









Museum of Queens College 1 . 

3270 

277 

652 

107 

1400 

834 

1250 

.... 

Cambridge : 



/ _ 

_ 





University Museum 2 .. 


120000 

40 

00 

.... 

.... 

.... 

50,000 

Dublin : 









Trinity College, Museum of Nor- 









mal Human Anatomy. 

562 

- - - - 

442 

120 



362 

2,175 

Trinity College, Museum of Anat- 


, - 

-, 






omy and Zoology 3 . 

14125 

135 

80 

. _ _ _ 



1000 

4,000 

Trinity College, Pathological 









Museum 4 ..... 

4815 

_ 


_ _ . _ 

4815 


650 


Trinity College, Museum, of Ma- 









teria Medica 5 .... 

200 


- - - - 






Museum of Royal College of 


,- 

-, 






Surgeons 6 ... 

9797 

35 

76 

71 

5011 

1139 

.... 

10,280 

Edinburgh : 









Anatomical Museum of Univer- 


,- 

—A 

_ 





sity of Edinburgh 7 8 9 .... 

10000 


6000 


4000 


310 

5,975 

Museum of Royal College of 









Surgeons of Edinburgh 3 . 

6700 

1000 

1050 

350 

4000 

.... 

.... 

.... 

Leeds: 









Pathological Museum Yorkshire 









College Medical Department*. 

3000 

.... 

100 

.... 

2000 

500 

220 

.... 


1 Information kindly furnished by Dr. Bertram C. A. Windle, Curator. 

2 Data received through kindness of Dr. Gr. E. Paget. 

3 Data furnished by Prof. M. H. N. Mackintosh. 

4 Professor E. H. Benet, the curator, has kindly furnished the data. 

6 From data furnished by Professor Walter S. Smith. 

6 Information kindly furnished by the Curator, Dr. Alexander B. McKee and Prof. 

Rawdon Macnamara. 

7 For these data the author is indebted to the kindness of Professor Wm. Turner, 

Conservator of the Museum. 

8 From data kindly furnished by the Conservator, Dr. Charles W. Cathcart, F.R.C.S. 

9 Data kindly furnished by Dr. Thomas Pridgin Teale, F.R.C.S. 



























382 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 



O 

u 

Number of specimens in each 
Department. 

Number of speci¬ 

mens added during 
last five years. 

■sS 

ra © 

a >> 

Locality and Name of Museum. 

Total Numbe 
specimens. 

Comparative 

Anatomy. 

Normal 

Human 

Anatomy. 

Embryology. 

Pathological 

Anatomy. 

Materia 

Medica. 

■ga 

Sa> 

If 

< 3 
•O 

Liverpool : 

Anatomical and Pathological 
Museum, University College 10 

2347 

87 

97 

93 

1500 

570 

600 

$ 

3,655 

London: 

Museum of Medical School of 
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital 11 .. 

7000 

250 

1200 

150 

5500 

1400 

939 

6,740 

Museum of Guy’s Hospital 12 - 

11500 

1929 

1504 

62 

7515 

500 

358 

10,066 

Museum of Kings College 13 _ 

6500 

3000 

323 

177 

2508 

874 

299 

_ 

Museum of College of Surgeons. 

28015 

4278 

3426 

_ 

5650 

.... 

1068 

61,210 

Museum of St. George’s Hospital 14 

6010 

345 

457 

134 

4644 

430 

356 

3,800 

St. Thomas Hospital Museum 15 .. 

5940 

673 

656 

_ 

4017 

594 

520 

4,560 

Pathological Museum of Charing 
Cross Hospital 16 . _ 

1265 




1265 




Museum of Medical Department 
of University College 11 . 

7500 

391 

765 

270 

5000 

1000 

641 

8,756 

Manchester : 

Medical Museum of Owens Col¬ 
lege.,- 

6694 

1763 

281 

135 

2515 

2000 



Norfolk: 

Norfolk and Norwich Hospital 
Museum___ 

2537 

156 

100 

30 

2351 


71 

400 

Oxford : 

University Museum 18 .. 

8500 

r 

JL 

6922 

-' 



580 

8,145 


10 From information kindly furnished by Reginald Harrison, Esq., F.R.C.S. 

11 Data kindly furnished by Dr. Norman Moore, F.R.C.S. 

12 From data kindly furnished by the Curator, Dr. G. N. Pitt, M.R.C.S. 

“ Prof. J. W. Groves. 

“ T. Holmes, Esq., F.R.C.S. 

“ Dr. Wm. M. Ord. 

“ John H. Morgan, Esq., F.R.C.S. 

“ the Curator, C. Stonham, Esq., F.R.C.S. 

“ John Burdon Sanderson, Esq., M.D.. F.R.S. 


18 
























MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


383 



O 

u 

Number of specimens in each 
Department. 

Number of speci¬ 

mens added during 
last five years. 

'O U 

© 3 
•a o 
a 

Locality and Name of Museum. 

Total Numbe 
specimens. 

Comparative 

Anatomy. 

Normal 

Human 

Anatomy. 

Embryology. 

Pathological 

Anatomy. 

Materia 

Medica. 

a| 

1“ 

If 

'd 

France. 

Nancy: 

Collection de la Faculte de Mede- 
cine 18/ .-... 

2980 

344 

886 

95 

905 

750 


$ 

3,166 

Paris : 19 

Dupuytren Museum.. 

6700 




6700 


300 

5,000 

Orfila Museum.. 

14027 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

500 

3^00 

Germany. 

Berlin : 

Museum des Path. Inst. Fried. 
Wilh. Universistat 20 ... 

17600 




17600 


1526 


Anatomische Sammlung 21 _ 

3000 

1666 

1500 

500 



374 

3,750 

Pharmakologische Sammlung 22 . 

2000 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

2000 

600 

'750 

Bonn : 

Sammlung fiir Pathologische 
Anatomie der Universitat 23 _ 

4000 




4000 




Sammlung fiir Pharmakologie._ 

1100 

.... 

.... 

.... 

1100 

.... 

.... 

— 

Jena : 

Anatomisches und Vergleichend- 
Anatomisches Museum der 
Universitat 24 -. 

4512 

2490 

2022 






Gottingen : 

Pathologische Sammlung 26 . 

4192 




4192 


600 



18 ' Information kindly furnished by Dr. Baraban, Curator. 

19 For the information regarding the Dupuytren and Orfila Museums I am indebted to 

the kindness of Professor Dr. Leon Le Fort. 

20 Information kindly furnished by Prof. Dr. R. v. Virchow. 

21 “ “ Prof. Dr. W. Waldeyer. 

22 “ “ Prof. Dr. 0. Liebreich. 

28 “ “ Prof. Dr. C. Binz. 

24 “ “ Prof. Dr. 0. Hertwig. 

25 Information furnished by Prof. J. Rosenbach. 























384 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 



Total Number of 

specimens. 

Number of specimens in each 
Department. 

s» 

A a 

. 

® 3 to 

Bn b 

Amount expended 

during last five years. 

Locality and Name of Museum. 

Comparative 

Anatomy. 

Normal 

Human 

Anatomy. 

Embryology. 

_l 

Pathological 

Anatomy. 

Materia 

Medica. 

Number of 1 

mens added 

last five yes 

Kiel: 

Anatomisches Institut der Uni- 
versitat 26 ..-- 

2890 


1520 

870 



350 

$ 

5,775 

Zoologisches Institut der Univer- 
sitat. 

15000 

3000 

_ 

.... 

.... 

.... 


9,158 

Leipzig : 

Anatomische Anstalt der Uni- 
versitat 21 ... 

3200 

'~32 

0 (P 






Pharmakologische Anstalt- 

2500 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

2500 

— 

.... 

Munchen : 28 

Anatomische Anstalt..... 

3792 


3722 

70 



400 


Pathologisches Institut.. 

5100 


.... 

100 

5666 


1000 

2,500 

Obstetrische und gynaecologische 
Sammlung der Konigl. Frauen 
Klinik..... 

594 


70 

76 

448 



625 

Strassburg : 

Pharmakologisclies Institut der 
Universitiit 29 . 

1720 






485 

6,650 

Anatomisches Museum der Univ. 

2500 

800 

1580 

120 



609 

1,875 

Pathologisches Institut.. 

8000 

.... 

.... 

.... 

8000 

.... 

625 

6,250 

Austro-Hungary. 

Budapest : 30 

Erstes Anatomisches Museum 
der Universitat 31 . 

1326 






483 

300 

Physiologisches Institut der Uni¬ 
versitat 32 .. 

1150 







375 

Pathologisch-Anatomisches In¬ 
stitute 

2560 

.... 

- - - . 

- - - - 



275 

1,000 


26 Through the kindness of Professor F. von Esmarch the information regarding the 
collection at Kiel was received from Professors W. Flemming and K. Brandt. 

21 Data received through the kindness of Professor Wilhelm His. 

28 Information furnished by Dr. F. Winckel. 

29 For the information regarding the Museum of the University of Strassburg I am in¬ 

debted to the kindness of Professor 0. Schmiedeberg. 

30 The information regarding the Budapest Museum was obtained through the kindness 

of Professor J. v. Fodor. 

31 Information kindly furnished by Dr. Joseph von Lenhossek, Professor of Anatomy. 

32 Information kindly furnished by Professor A. E. Yendrassik. 

Information kindly furnished by Dr. Gustav Scheuthauer. 



































MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 


385 


Locality and Name of Museum. 


Wien : 34 

Museum der Anatomischen An- 
stalt... 


Italy . 36 

Bologna: 

Museo d’anatomia patologia 

umana 36 .. 

Museo di anatomia comparata 37 
Museo di anatomia veterinaria 

della Universita__ 

Museo di patologia comparata 38 . 
II museo d’anatomia umana nor- 
male fondata 1723 39 .. 

Pavia: 

Gabinetto di anatomia umana 

della Universita 40 .. 

Museo di anatomia e fisiologia 

comparata 41 ... 

Instituto di Fisiologia 42 .. 

Gabinetto di anatomia patolog- 

ica 43 ... 

Instituto di patologia generate 

ed istologia 44 . 

Museo Porta di anatomia et 

patalogia chirurgica 46 . 

Museo dell istituto ostetrico gine- 

cologico 46 .... 

Gabinetto dermo-sifilopatico 47 ... 
Manicomio Provinciale di Pavia 

in Voghera 48 .. 

Gabinetto di materia medica 49 .. 


O 

Number of specimens in each 
Department. 

speci- 

during 

® £ 

•O ci 

a ® 

Total Numbei 

specimens. 

Comparative 

Anatomy. 

Normal 

Human 

Anatomy. 

>> 

O 

o 

>> 

2 

a 

w 

Pathological 

Anatomy. 

Materia 

Medica. 

Number of 

mens added 

last five years. 

®<S 

gj 

§ bo 

5.5 

3582 

77 

3212 

293 

.... 


333 

$ 

2472 




2472 


154 

1,250 

6334 

6334 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

175 

2,500 

1042 

1034 

8 




551 

8,450 

3473 

.... 

.... 

.... 

3473 

— 

76 

800 

4414 

.... 

4414 

.... 

.... 

.... 

248 

605 

2678 

_ 

2493 

185 

.... 


300 

2,900 

5094 

4580 


370 




4,300 

385 

.... 

— 

210 

.... 

.... 

.... 

.... 

2300 

— 

— 

.... 

2300 

.... 

450 

.... 

2500 

— 

.... 

150 

2350 

.... 

500 

2,200 

1848 

.... 

.... 

.... 

1848 

.... 

.... 

1,340 

372 




372 



2,970 

258 

.... 

.... 

.... 

258 

— 

200 

250 

543 






250 


1000 

— 

.... 

.... 

.... 

1666 

250 

1,780 


34 Data kindly furnished by Professor C. Toldt. 

35 The data regarding the Italian Museums were kindly solicited for me by Professor 

A. Mosso. 

36 Information furnished by the Curator, Prof. Cesare TaruiS. 

37 “ “ “ “ Giuseppe Ciaccio. 

“ “ “ “ Cesare TarufiB. 

39 “ “ “ “ Luigi Calori. 

40 “ “ “ “ Giovanni Zoja. 

41 “ “ “ “ Leopoldo Maggi. 

49 “ “ “ “ E. Oehl. 


“ “ “ G. SangaUi. 

“ “ “ C. Golgi. 

“ “ “ Dr. B. Ciceri. 

“ Professor C. Alessandro. 

“ Dr. Angelo Scarenzio. 

“ Prof. Antigono Raggi. 

“ Prof. Alfonso Corradi, Director. 








































386 


MEDICAL MUSEUMS. 



o 

p 

Number of specimens in each 
Department. 

speci- 

during 

© 2 

T3 aS 

a © 

© >> 

Locality and Name of Museum. 

Total Numbe 
specimens. 

Comparative 

Anatomy. 

Normal 

Human 

Anatomy. 

Embryology. 

Pathological 

Anatomy. 

Materia 

Medica. 

Number of 

mens added 

last five years. 

§s 

2 * 

9 a 

£ 

Torino : 

Inst, di anatomia normale dell 
Univ . 50 --- 

12000 


12000 




3000 

$ 

7,000 

Museo di zoologia ed anatomia 
comparata 51 _ 

2500 

2500 







Collezione di antropologia crirni- 

nale 62 .. .. 

2000 


2000 






Museo di materia medica_ 

700 


_ 

_ 

_ 

700 

ioo 

2,000 

Museo di anatomia patalogia 63 . - 

800 

„ _ 

_ 

_ 

800 

_ 

480 

3,000 

Museo Riberi ospedale St. Gio¬ 
vanni _ 

887 

- - - - 

.... 

_ 

887 

.... 

389 

2,040 

Belgium. ' 

LiifcGE: 

Museum of the Anatomical In¬ 
stitute 54 .- 

1183 




1183 


541 

4,800 

Holland. 

Amsterdam : 

Anatomisch Museum en Museum 
Vrolik 56 --- 

6200 

900 

1200 

600 

1500 


577 

2,500 

Denmark. 

Copenhagen: 

Pathologisch- anatomisches Mu¬ 
seum 66 .. 

6500 

.... 


600 

6000 


523 

2,160 


50 Information furnished by Prof. C. Giacomini, Director 


51 *< “ 

5-2 « “ 

53 *» “ 

64 ‘1 “ 

55 “ “ 


Prof. Dr. A. Mosso. 
Prof. Ces. Lombroso. 
Prof. Pio Foa. 

Dr. A. Swaen. 

Prof. M. Furbringer. 
Dr. G, G. Lange. 


56