History of the Museum
The current collection of the Museum of Anatomy is based on museum preparations collected by Professor Jurgis Žilinskas and his colleagues in 1920-1940. Later, in the course of cooperation between the teachers and students at the Institute of Anatomy, many new exhibits were and still are being produced.
The Museum of Human Anatomy was a part of the Institute of Anatomy until 1940 and belonged to the Faculty of Medicine of Vytautas Magnus University (VDU). In 1945 VDU was named the University of Kaunas, and on 1 September 1946 completely disbanded. Polytechnic and Medical Institutes were organised on the basis of VDU. New pedagogues who were in favour of the occupational regime were invited to work in them. In 1995, the Kaunas Medical Institute was reorganised into the Kaunas Medical Academy, in 1991 the Kaunas Medical Academy became the Kaunas Medical University, and in 2010 the Kaunas Medical University was reorganised into the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, following the merger of the Kaunas Medical University with the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy.
This building, where we the museum is presently located, was built on the site of the first Anatomicum only at the end of 1932 (put into official operation on 31 December 1932. The palace was built according to the project of the architect V. Dubeneckis. The Museum of Anatomy has been located in the same place since 1933, on the third floor of the western wing.
After moving to the new premises, the museum preparations were placed in very beautiful white spacious cabinets, which were made by the craftsmen according to the special order. After arranging the exhibits, it turned out that there are very few preparations for such a large museum, so in 1933-1940 during what we could call the period of the museum renaissance, a lot of new preparations were produced. Under the guidance of the Professor, Laboratory Assistants V. Radvinauskas, J. Radvilavičius and Preparer Ida Kronikaitė, the students were happy to make anatomical models from clay, wax, wood, wire, or papier-mâché mass. Often, such models were 5-10 times larger than natural ones. Such models made it easier to locate and memorize complex anatomical structures.
However, no matter how much we make models, they will never represent the variety of the shape of organs and their arrangement that nature has created. Therefore, since the 16th century anatomists tried to study the body of a dead person. At first, they did it secretly from the public and the authorities, “stealing” corpses from graveyards at night, and only later were they allowed to officially examine the dead person’s body. As a result, the science of anatomy was created. Currently, the body of a deceased person is an important educational tool for students, pathologist-anatomists, and representatives of forensic medicine, who during autopsies try to determine the causes of human illness and death and the effectiveness of the treatment provided. The dead serve the living.