Visualising Medical Heritage: Night at the Museum of Anatomy

Written by on November 16, 2018

Last month, the College heritage team took part in an exciting lates event, “Night at the Museum of Anatomy”. Collaborating with the University of Glasgow’s Anatomy Facility, the Hunterian Museum and the Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation, this event involved a range of demonstrations, displays and interactives showing how we have visualised, studied and taught human anatomy over the centuries, from William Hunter in the 18th Century to the latest in digital visualisation. As hinted in the title, it took place in the fascinating Museum of Anatomy at the University of Glasgow, which holds some of the anatomical specimens of the famous surgeon, William Hunter.

The evening allowed visitors to explore different stations, each highlighting ways in which anatomy has been taught and is currently being taught. Examples from the RCPSG collection included David Livingstone’s humerus cast and its 3D-printed replica produced by photogrammetry, as well as augmented reality examples of William Macewen’s most famous surgical cases.

VR Example of Macewen’s surgical case of a brain tumour.

Other stations looked at how 3D printing is used today to plan complicated surgeries, how VR can be used as a mode of surgical training, how human cadaveric specimens are used to teach anatomy to those training in healthcare disciplines, and even how body painting can be used to teach anatomy to anyone!


  Photos provided by ArtBeat: Art & Anatomy Edinburgh



The event was a great success. Thanks is given to everyone who was involved in this event, and we at the College are looking forward to many more collaborations!



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The College’s heritage collections – including thousands of medical and surgical instruments, rare books, archives, and pictures – span over 6 centuries and are an excellent resource for exploring the history of medicine and the history of the city of Glasgow. Many items from the collections have been digitised and are available to view here. Our digitisation work is ongoing, and we add new items to the site regularly, so keep checking back to discover more.

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