Musee Dupuytren Museum in Paris
The Musee Dupuytren is an unusual museum in Paris that deals with anatomic pathology and showcases many different malformations of the body along with skeletons, bones, paintings, drawings and some tools that were used in the pathology practise.
A bit of history..
The Musee Dupuytren was first founded back in 1835 by Mathieu Orfila who founded toxicology, after a bequest from Guillaume Dupuytren, who was the professor of medicine at the surgical faculty of medicine in Paris, which hence the name given to this museum in Paris.
It was decided to installed this museum within the Refectoire des Cordeliers refectory of the old convent, then was filled with skeletons, wax moulds, organs preserved in jars and much more that included many malformations of the human body, which were considered as monstrosities for many years.
It was between the years of 1836 and 1942 that the first catalogue was produced itemising around 1000 different specimens and by the 1870s this had accumulated immensely to a few thousand items.
However, by the start of the 1900s the Musee Dupuytren had started to slowly decline and with the Cordeliers building itself falling into a dilapidated state, the museum was closed in 1935 and the items were all removed and placed within the basement of the faculty.
Unfortunately, because of this, many items suffered major damage and lots of the original itemisation details were also lost and it was not until 1967 that this museum in Paris was to be given a new lease of life.
After renovations of the Refectoire des Cordeliers and relocating and documenting the items, the Musee Dupuytren Museum was re-opened to the public at the Cordeliers School of Medicine Centre in Paris, which is where it still remains today.
About the Musee Dupuytren Museum in Paris
This museum now contains around 6000 different objects including wax anatomical models with the oldest dating from the 18th century that are remnants from the collections of the Royal College of Surgery.
There are also thousands of pieces of bone that range from complete skeletons and skulls through to bone fragments and joints that portray different lesions and malformations that are uncommon in the West, yet still can be found in underdeveloped countries.
You can also discover paintings, prints and drawings, plus the Musee Dupuytren also contains the brains of aphasic patients that were preserved in jars by the famous anatomist Paul Pierre Broca, and having much historical importance, these were used in his research into the localisation of brain functions.
Another section at this museum was from the Dejerine Foundation after the bequest of Jules Dejerine who was professor of neurology at the Medical Faculty in Paris where, along with his wife Augusta Dejerine-Klumpe who was the first woman intern at a Paris hospital, developed his symptomatolgy of the nervous system. And this section contains his library, microscopes, tools and different instruments along with the histological preparations and photographs that he used.
So, as you can tell, this is a very unusual museum, but is a fascinating place for anyone interested in human biology, pathology, neurology or just the plain morbid, but is a fascinating look back at the history of medicine, anatomy and bodily malformations.
Access to the Musee Dupuytren Museum in Paris
There is a charge to access the museum, although students and staff of the UPMC, which is the Pierre and Marie Curie University can gain free access and it is open on a Monday to Friday from 2pm through to 5pm. However, the museum is closed at all other times including national French holidays plus during the school and university holidays.
But if you do manage to get a chance to discover the Musee Dupuytren, then it is in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris and the nearest Metro stop is the Odeon on lines 4 or 10. Alternatively, if you are travelling on the bus you would need the numbers 63 or 87 to get you close to the Refectoire des Cordeliers and the museum.
More information on the Refectoire des Cordeliers
- Refectoire des Cordeliers
Address and Contact Details
Centre des Cordeliers
15 Rue de l’Ecole de Medecine
Ile de France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 34 68 60
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