Dry Preparations of Anatomical Lesions in Pathological Anatomy Museums


  • Gianni Bussolati Pathological Anatomy, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, I
  • Ezio Fulcheri Pathological Anatomy, Dept. of Integrated Surgical and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Genoa, UNESCO Catholic Church "Anthropology of health-biosphere and systems of care", University of Genoa, I


Dry preparations, Pathological specimens, Museum of Pathological Anatomy


Collection of pathological specimens began soon after the seminal description of autopsy by Giovan Battista Morgagni in Padoa in the second half of the 18th Century. Pathologists soon realized difficulties of preserving the form and to prevent decay caused by autolysis and attack by bacteria and parasites. The ancient procedures devoted to mummification were applied to the purpose, and a number of personal experiences were reported in the first half of the 19th century, mainly in Northern Italy and France, testifying a dedicated interest of the time in those areas. A combination of chemical fixation (with corrosive sublimate/mercuric chloride and /or tannic acid) and careful drying allowed to produce dry preparations, once very numerous in the Pathological Anatomy’s Museums so much popular in the 19th and early 20th Century. In fact, it was the sole way to give visual evidence of disease and pathological processes. Only a limited number of these dry preparations are still present and visible in Pathology Museums, mainly in Universities of Northern Italy, while a few examples can be traced in the other European Country.