Anatomical Museum of professor Žlábek

History of the Anatomical Museum of the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University

An anatomical museum is an essential part of every Department of Anatomy. Every head of such an institution endeavours to furnish it with not only basic educational specimens but also with specific specimens that will allow the visitors to learn about morphology in more details.

Prof. MUDr. et MVDr. h.c. Otomar Völker, the first head of the Department of Anatomy at the Medical Faculty of Masaryk University in Brno, was facing such a task in 1919. He was establishing a new anatomy department in the temporary building of the new faculty that was situated in the premises of former militia barracks at Úvoz street No. 73 (today’s building of the Technical University in Brno). The Department of Anatomy was relatively small and the anatomical museum was sized accordingly. During the World War II, the Department basically ceased to exist and its anatomical museum shared the same fate. The collections were transferred to Prague’s German Medical Faculty of Professor Gösner, where they were recorded and placed in the depository (fortunately, the collections of the Brno anatomical museum were entirely separated from the collections of Prague’s Department of Anatomy).

After the war, the Medical Faculty was located in new buildings at Komenský Square No.2 and Joštova street No. 10 (former buildings of the German Technical University). When managed by professor Žlábek, the Department of Anatomy was situated on the ground floor of the Medical Faculty at Komenský Square No.2. These premises, vacated by the Czechoslovak Army, were gradually adapted for needs of the institution. At first, the reading room was established and then a temporary dissecting room was installed in the adjacent room where ordinary wooden tables were used for dissection. The dissecting room also served for preparation works, that is to say, for conserving and storing of cadavers. The students used these temporary premises for dissecting until the summer semester of 1946. The originally small lecture room was reconstructed in to a demonstration hall and the adjacent rooms were converted in to the definitive dissecting rooms that were put into operation in the winter semester of 1946/47. During the summer holidays, the anatomical museum was installed in the vacated room of the former temporary dissecting room. The foundation of the museum’s collections was the undamaged original specimens from the museum of Professor Völker’s department that Professor Žlábek transferred back to Brno from Prague’s German Department of Anatomy.

Professor Žlábek devoted great efforts to establishing both the Department and the anatomical museum. In co-operation with his colleagues, he produced a great number of new specimens, substantially extending the museum and creating the basis for a rich and modern collection of anatomical specimens that is fully comparable to those of other European anatomical museums.

Close attention was paid to the anatomical museum even after Professor Žlábek had retired. All succeeding heads of the Department and their appointed employees took care continuously to add and extend the collections with new specimens.

Today, the museum displays more than 600 interesting exhibits and new specimens are added continually. The anatomical museum’s collections are arranged according to the individual systems and displayed in a clear and logical way. Therefore, it is easy to orientate oneself in the museum’s collections and the students may find the information they need while studying or checking the knowledge they have attained.

The anatomical museum is used especially for anatomy learning by the students of the Medical Faculty and experts from clinical practice. Moreover, students of other universities may visit the Department of Anatomy and become acquainted with its museum’s ample collections. Secondary school students may enhance their knowledge during organised excursions. Each year, the anatomical museum is visited by hundreds of local people as well as foreigners interested in anatomy and medicine.

The accomplishments of Professor MUDr. et RNDr. Karel Žlábek in resurrecting and building up the museum were honoured in 1992 during the celebration of his 90th birthday, during which time the anatomical museum of the Medical Faculty of Masaryk University was renamed as the Anatomical Museum of Professor Karel Žlábek.

prof. MUDr. Libor Páč, CSc.

View of the Anatomical Museum of Professor Karel Žlábek (copy of the skeleton of the Moravian giant Josef Drásal at the back)
View of the Anatomical Museum of Professor Karel Žlábek
Preparations in the Anatomical Museum of Professor Karel Žlábek are used to teach medical students
Vypreparovaný skelet asi pětiměsíčního plodu
Čtyřměsíční plod v děloze
Cévní zásobení ledvin dospělého jedince - korozivní preparát
Děloha, vejcovody a vaječníky dospělé ženy
Slepé střevo a červovitý výběžek dospělého jedince
Kopie kostry moravského obra Josefa Drásala (výška 240 cm)
Lidské srdce s velkými cévami (aorta, truncus pulmonalis, horní dutá žíla)
Vnitřní plocha mozkové hemisféry pravé strany dospělého jedince
Cévní zásobení jater - korozivní preparát
Ledviny a nadledviny dospělého jedince
About the museum

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