National Museum of Health and Medicine Opens 'Visibly Human' Exhibit Featuring Anatomical Specimens Dating Back More Than a Century

Washington, D.C. – April 12, 2010: A vivid presentation of anatomical and pathological specimens, assembled from museum collections dating back more than 100 years, goes on display this week at the nation’s medical museum. "Visibly Human: Health and Disease in the Human Body" is the newest exhibition from the National Museum of Health and Medicine at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, a Department of Defense museum located on the campus at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

"Visibly Human" presents the body’s organ systems and features normal anatomical specimens alongside specimens demonstrating some measure of pathology, be it from injury, disease or environmental factors.

Other iconic objects installed as part of "Visibly Human" include: a leg showing the effects of elephantiasis, a lymphatic condition caused by a parasite; a trichobezoar (or human hairball) in the shape of a stomach, which was surgically removed from a 12-year old girl who ate her hair for six years; a brain with the spinal cord still attached; lungs showing the effects of smoking or working in a coal mine; and many others. They join other treasures from the national medical collections already on display.

Visitors will enter the new "Visibly Human" gallery after passing by the skeleton of Peter Cluckey, a Spanish-American War veteran who suffered from a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, which fused many of his joints together. Cluckey is a mainstay of the Museum’s historic human body exhibits and has been on display nearly continuously for decades. The exhibit also includes an interactive installation titled the Visible Human Project, in which cross sections of the human body can be examined at a station in the gallery.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Parking is available. Advance reservations are not required.

NOTE: Adults must present government-issued photo identification to gain entry to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. For questions, visit the Museum’s Web site (see links below).

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