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"Scientific Peep Show" The Human Body in Contemporary Science Museums

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The essay focuses on the discourse about the human body developed by contemporary science museums with educational and instructive purposes directed at the general public. These museums aim mostly at mediating concepts such as health and prevention. The current scenario is linked with two examples of past museums: the popular anatomical museums which emerged during the 19th century and the health museums thrived between 1910 and 1940. On the museological path about the human body self-care we went from the emotionally involving anatomical Venuses to the inexpressive Transparent Man, from anatomical specimens of ill organs and deformed subjects to the mechanical and electronic models of the healthy body. Today the body is made transparent by the new medical diagnostics and by the latest discoveries of endoscopy. The way museums and science centers presently display the human body involves computers, 3D animation, digital technologies, hands-on models of large size human parts.


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