History Anatomists

Another source of anatomy teaching began with the foundation of many medical schools (particularly within the provincial medical schools) and the medical museums found within them. A large portion of training occurred within these up until and for some time after the Second World War. The medical museum was very important and a lot of effort was put into creating something impressive. This was particularly so in provincial medical schools which were just being established that needed credibility not only from other medical schools (namely Oxford and the London teaching hospitals) but also from the public. The museums were not only for students but also members of the public paid to see the exhibits within the museum. This brought not only much needed income but prestige as well.The more exhibits within the museum the more established the medical school appeared to be (at least to the public). Significant amounts of teaching occurred in the museum as well with students claiming they learnt far more in the museum than they ever did in the lecture theatre. The decline of the museums within medical schools was largely due to the demand in floor space for teaching and new disciplines and less importantly the great improvements in photography and colour texts. For example the museum at Birmingham Medical School is now a computer cluster and teaching rooms, the only remains of the museum are the preserved specimens decorating the walls around the computer cluster.