ANATOMICAL MUSEUM

The Anatomical museum of the Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UOA) was founded in 1877 by the Professor Damianos Georgiou of Macedonian origin in a small old building, which had a room for just two anatomical tables. The great benefactor Georgios Sinas, in 1833, donated to the Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, a skeleton and several dry adult skulls, while George Manousis offered an optical microscope. King Otto of Greece donated the famous anatomical charts of Weber and Mascagni. Professor Georgiou established the “Anatomical Fund” and collected various surgical tools and anatomical charts from abroad.

Figure 1 A. The anatomical museum of the Department of Anatomy of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens as it was founded in 1902 and B, C, D. its current views (2012)

The rarity of cadaveric material leads Georgiou to the solution of manufacturing dry preparations, injecting into the vascular system a coloured mixture of wax, animal fat and plant resins. Body was dehydrated by immersion in alcohol and vessels were painted and finally the body was varnished. In the academic year 1872-1873, Georgiou received from Paris some anatomical models made by Louis Auzoux and in 1883 the University purchased the famous collection of Konstantinos Valsamakis professor of the Ionian Academy.

Figure 2 A, B Cadaveric specimens of the heart and D, E. hands C. Acrania in a teratologic specimen G. Head duplication in an lamp

The Valsamakis collection, a rare collection of anatomical wooden models of bones and wax casts workings was made by the anatomist Felice Fontana (1730-1805) from Florence. The contents of Valsamakis collection included: Miniature wooden statues depicting the human muscles, wooden sculptures of bones, skulls of adults and juveniles, vertebrae and spinal cords, wax, plaster and flax casts. A particularly interesting artefact is a wax model, by an unknown artist, of the female urogenital system, depicted the retroperitoneal and inner and outer reproductive organs, with a section of a pregnant uterus. The latter professor Loukas Papaioannou, in 1887, prepared a detailed embryological collection. Rigas Nikolaidis (1856-1928) and his assistant Karzis made dry specimens of the muscles, vessels and nerves of the upper and lower limbs and the head and neck area. He also made exceptional dry specimens of the orbital cavity and specimens of the trigeminal and facial nerves. Nikolaidis enriches the anatomical museum with anatomical maps (depicting the origin and insertion of the muscles and the course of the nerves), a complete embryological collection and some important anatomical variations, such as the anomaly of the right subclavian artery, the abnormality of the internal maxillary artery and anomalies of latissimus dorsi and biceps brachii muscles. Georgios Sclavounos (1868-1954) used the pyrography techniquefor the description of the muscles adhesion, including bone combustion with thermal cautery at the adhesion points of the muscles.

 

Figure 3 A-D. Konstantinos Valsamakis collection E. Kidneys’ stones, donation of Professor Aristides Giannopoulos

Professor Epaminondas Katritsis organized the anatomical museum and in 1989, Professor Vlachos enriched the museum with brain and spinal cord preparations. In 1992 professor Nikolaos Papadopoulos (1992-2004) had classified all the collected material. By his own actions the museum was modernized and renovated. The corner of the famous author, the academician Antonis Samarakis was created after its body donation to the Department of Anatomy. The Professor of Urology Aristides Giannopoulos donated a rare collection with kidneys’ and bladder stones. In 2010, the current professor of the Department of Anatomy Panayiotis Skandalakis renovated the anatomical museum. The anatomical museum includes a rich collection of dry normal bones, abnormal bones (dysplastic, osteoporotic, partially or completely ossified in the ligamentous part), dry bones with abnormalities (wormian bones, ligaments’ ossifications, additional and emissary foramina), preserved embalming in formaldehyde human specimens and preserved animal specimens in a distinct part (section) dedicated to the comparative anatomy. Wax, wood and plaster models also exist.

Figure 4 A, B. Louis Auzoux specimens, C. Wax model made by Felice Fontana E. Plastic model of the eye  D. Old surgical instruments

Two hundred (200) dry normal and abnormal Caucasian skulls and 10 dry normal skulls of animals are exposed. A great part of the anatomical museum includes brain slices and brain and spinal cord sections adequate for the meticulous study of the central nervous system. Exceptional specimens are the skeletons of a giant, an achondroplastic dwarf, and a skeleton with severe scoliosis and another one with multiple exostoses. Preserved specimens (embalmed in alcohol and formaldehyde solution), dried specimens and specimens injected with wax or other substances are adequate for demonstration of the venous, arterial and lymphatic system. Moreover, a teratologic collection with abnormal fetuses with clefts, cardiac malformations and other severe structural abnormalities also exist. In another corner of the anatomical museum exists a rich collection of old surgical instruments and several microscopes. In the anatomical museum are also exhibited specimens of different parts of the human body (ear, nose, tongue, larynx, pharynx, heart, lungs, female genitals, and the fetus). In conclusion, the anatomical collection comprises more than 800 specimens. Around 60 of them show congenital anomalies of human and animal fetuses. It is expected to open its doors to the public until the end of December 2016. 

 

Contact:

Director: Professor Panayiotis Skandalakis, E-mail: skantakis@med.uoa.gr,

tel: 210-7462430

Contact: Assistant Professor Dr. Maria Piagkou, tel: 210-7462427, fax: 2107462398,

E-mail: mapian@med.uoa.gr

Tel210-746 2304-5 

Address: Medical School, Faculty of Health Sciences, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens 

E-mail: paskan@med.uoa.gr, mapian@med.uoa.gr

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