Anatomy museums around the world showcase preserved corpses in service of education and medical advancement, but they are little-known and have been largely hidden from the public eye. Elizabeth Hallam here investigates the anatomy museum and how it reveals the fascination and fears that surround the dead body in Western societies.
Hallam explores the history of these museums and how they operate in the current cultural environment. Their regulated access increasingly clashes with evolving public mores toward the exposed body, as demonstrated by the international popularity of the Body Worlds exhibition. The book examines such related topics as artistic works that employ the images of dead bodies and the larger ongoing debate over the disposal of corpses. Issues such as aesthetics and science, organ and body donations, and the dead body in Western religion and ritual are also discussed here in fascinating depth.
The Anatomy Museum unearths a strange and compelling cultural history that investigates the ideas of preservation, human rituals of death, and the spaces that our bodies occupy in this life and beyond.