One of the most comprehensive public collections of human pathology anywhere in the world - the Museum of Human Disease at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) - has opened its doors to the general public.
The Museum is now open on weekdays between 3-5pm, offering self-guided audio tours.
Boasting more than 2,500 real human specimens of diseased tissue and associated exhibits, the Museum allows visitors to see first-hand the often graphic effects of human ailments, from the most common to the most obscure.
Except for popular annual Open Days, the Museum has traditionally been the exclusive realm of pathologists, medical students and high school visitors. It is hoped that the increased public access, along with self-guided audio tours featuring descriptions of important specimens and disease processes by UNSW experts, will enable more people to benefit from this amazing resource.
For a small fee, visitors can see and hear about the effects of obesity and smoking and how these contribute to common conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. The dead tissue of a gangrenous foot is a stark example of the impact of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Other common disease processes and ailments on display include gallstones, asthma and cancer in all its forms.
Museum manager Robert Lansdown said that while the collection can be confronting, the new audio tour makes it different from other travelling exhibitions of human anatomy.
"We recognise the sensitive nature of this collection and ensure all visitors understand the importance of viewing the specimens respectfully.
"Our objective is to promote good health and recognise the generous contribution that our donors have made to our understanding of human health."
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