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History Preservation Collection Body Parts
Preservation
Examination by Eye
Examination by X-Ray
Signs of Deterioration
Conservation Treatment: Anatomical Model of a Man
Conservation Treatment: Anatomical Model of a Uterus
Photograph of an anatomical model of a male, before treatment
  Anatomical model of a male, before treatment
Photograph of an anatomical model of a male, disassembled into 27 sections
  Anatomical model of a male, disassembled into 27 sections
Before treatment, this small male anatomical model was covered with dirt and grime. On examination, several aspects of its condition became obvious. The thumb and middle finger of the left hand and the big toe from the right foot were missing. The top of the skull, the two parts of the face, the chest, and the muscles of the left leg were distorted and no longer fit in their original positions. The left arm below the shoulder was cracked, as was the left hip.
 
In several areas, the paint layer was missing, especially around the legs. The varnish and paint layer on the back of the model was cracked and flaking. Closer examination with a microscope revealed the extent to which the varnish and paint layers had lifted off the paper surface support.
 
The conservation treatment of this model involved cleaning and stabilizing the varnish and paint layers. Several solvents were tested, and distilled water was chosen for cleaning this model. But water at room temperature can cause further damage by softening and swelling the varnish. To prevent this, ice water was used. Ice water slows down the swelling process and allows the surfaces to be cleaned with very little swelling.
 
After cleaning with cotton swabs, the separating varnish and paint layers were laid down with a heated spatula and adhered in place using gelatin or synthetic resin applied by brush. The cracked arm and hip were stabilized by clamping and gluing the separated pieces together.
 
The missing pieces were not reproduced. Their losses are part of the history of this model, and do not detract from its overall appearance.
 
Click here to download a Conservation Report
Photograph of an anatomical model of a male, head before treatment.
  Anatomical model of a male, head before treatment.  
Photograph of an anatomical model of a male, head after treatment.
  Anatomical model of a male, head after treatment.  
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