Morbid Curiosities: Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Samuel J.M.M. AlbertiMorbid Curiosities: Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Samuel J.M.M. Alberti

Morbid Curiosities: Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century Britain

bySamuel J.M.M. Alberti

Hardcover | May 7, 2011

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Morbid Curiosities is the first comprehensive study of nineteenth-century medical museums in Britain. It traces the afterlives of diseased body parts, asking how they came to be in these collections, what happened to them there, and who used them. Pathologists dismembered the dead body and preserved it, whether by injection or by storage in fluid, thereby transforming it into material culture. Thus fragmented body parts followed complex paths - harvested from hospital wards, given to a prestigious institution, or once again fragmented atauction. Human remains acquired new meanings as they were exchanged and, once in museums, specimens were re-integrated to form a physical map of disease. Curators juxtaposed organic specimens with paintings, photographs, and models, and rendered them legible with extensive catalogues - paper, wax,and text formed a series of overlapping systems. They were intended to standardize the educational experience that was the ostensible purpose of most of the museums, and yet visitors refused to be policed, responding powerfully, whether with wonder or disgust. Morbid Curiosities is a history of the material culture of medical knowledge, from prepared human remains to models, illustrations, and even architectural pillars and galleries.
Samuel J.M.M. Alberti previously held a joint position at the University of Manchester, where he was a researcher at the Manchester Museum and a lecturer at the Centre for Museology. He is author of Nature and Culture: Objects, Disciplines and the Manchester Museum and editor of The Afterlives of Animals: A Museum Menagerie.
Title:Morbid Curiosities: Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century BritainFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.03 inPublished:May 7, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199584583

ISBN - 13:9780199584581

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: A Parliament of Monsters2. Situating Pathology: A Cultural Cartography3. Collecting Pathology: Fragmentation and the Traffic in Morbid Flesh4. Preserving Pathology: Craft and Technique in the Medical Museum5. Displaying Pathology: Maps of Morbidity6. Viewing Pathology: Medical Museums and their Visitors7. Conclusion: A Catalogue of ErrorsSelect Bibliography