First anatomical drawings are in Philadelphia

    For the first time in almost 250 years the Pennsylvania Hospital in Center City is showing its original collection of medical drawings publicly. But even though they were made for education, the drawings hold secrets.

    The first hospital in America has on display the first anatomical drawings in America. For the first time in almost 250 years the Pennsylvania Hospital in Center City is showing its original collection of medical drawings publicly. But even though they were made for education, the drawings hold secrets.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091201pcmedical.mp3]

    A relatively unknown artist in London used pastels to show muscular and skeletal systems. A striking set of pictures depict a dissection of a pregnant woman’s body that was clearly drawn from life. In the 18th century there was no such thing as leaving your body to science. Curator Stacey Peeples says the subjects were likely lower-class citizens.

    091201pcmedical_2Peeples: These would have been procured in a way – maybe not the best means. These would have been executed criminals, prostitutes, bodies of that sort who would have been found on the streets of London.

    Coincidentally, a modern update of anatomical drawings are on display at the Franklin Institute. Body Worlds 2 uses cadavers whose flesh has been chemically altered into a kind of plastic. Some have complained that their sometimes grotesque poses are more provocative than educational.

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