Chapter

Preserving Pathology

Samuel J. M. M. Alberti

in Morbid Curiosities

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199584581
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725159 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584581.003.0004
Preserving Pathology

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The preservative techniques intended to render organic remains stable are the subject of Chapter 4. The messy, contingent business of museum conservation is concealed by the pristine pages of the published catalogues, and this chapter turns to the very materiality of the preparation: the preservative fluids, the jars,and the injected substances. This gives us a rare glimpse into museum practice, the techniques, and the skills involved, and a deeper understanding of the processes of material culture (and material culture as process). How were dead bodies transformed into museum objects? After they arrive in the museum, and before they are seen by the visitors (if at all), what happened to objects behind the scenes? What did anatomists, pathologists, curators, and technicians actually do on a day-to-day basis, and how did they learn to do it?

Keywords: material culture; preservation; preparation; conservation; museum practice; technicians; wet specimens; desiccation; injections; Frederick Knox

Chapter.  10266 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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