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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 a life-size anatomical model of a male, detail of the head showing the lifting and flaking surface
  Life-size anatomical model of a male, detail of the head showing the lifting and flaking surface
Over time, the effects of use, light, and changes in relative humidity have caused these models to deteriorate--the varnish and paint have flaked, cracked, and faded, and pieces have been broken or lost. When that happens, we lose detail and information, and we lose a piece of our history. Determined to preserve these models and their history, NMAH has taken steps to slow or stop the process of deterioration.
 
Our preservation efforts are based on careful study of the objects and their condition. Similar to understanding how the human body ages, understanding the materials and internal structure of the models helps us understand how they deteriorate. Care of these models begins with providing a stable environment, but can encompass conservation methods such as cleaning, stabilizing the surface layers, and reattaching loose and separated pieces. This care ensures the preservation of these objects for future generations.
Photograph of the proper left shoulder during cleaning
  Detail of the proper left shoulder during cleaning  
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