Changing the Interpretation


For many decades these specimens were displayed with very clinical descriptions of tumors and lesions and other physical damage to the tissue. They highlighted the things that the pathologist at the time of their preservation felt were important for medical students and physicians to know and recognize.

The stories the old labels told were not human stories. They were stories of disease and disorder told from a very clinical perspective. There is certainly value in that, intellectually and scientifically. But they inadvertently took away the humanity of the individual. When the Old Pathology Building was a functioning laboratory with scientific goals, those labels made sense. But in 2019, as we entered our 50th year as a museum striving to serve the greater public, it was time to change this and "rehumanize" the IMHM specimen collection.


The image above shows the original labels for the specimen collection.

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