Bologna: Museo Palazzo Poggi…obscure anatomy museum

“Before the 1700s the practice of obstetrics had been in the hands of midwives, but in the 18th century there was a big effort to set the scientific grounds for the practice and turn it into a medical specialization. 

In the course of the century, the art of childbirth became a subject worthy of being taught to surgeons and midwives.”

Can you even imagine living in a time when the ‘art of childbirth’ was not a worthy subject to teach? These innovative, often times disturbing and sometimes comical wax and clay models were the teaching tools used during the 1700s at the University of Bologna. 

For lovers of cabinets of curiosities, this museum will not disappoint with its beautiful cabinetry, odd creatures and objects. For printmakers and graphic designers, there is a large collection of woodblocks and some corresponding prints of elaborate insects and mythical creatures. An additional optics room has a functioning camera obscura among many other objects key to the history of photography. Be sure to go into the musty smelling, dark  room with the columns to see a demonstration of Newton’s prism experiment. It almost feel like you are not supposed to be in there especially when one of the exit doors only leads to a hallway with dead end and a locked door …. a student I.D. card will ensure a 1 euro entry, a total bargain!

This was the second stop for our Surface Anatomy class Bologna field trip, post Body Worlds.


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