The Warren Anatomical Museum is one of the last surviving anatomy and pathology museum collections in the United States. In 1847, Harvard anatomist and surgeon John Collins Warren founded the Museum to preserve and classify specimens and models needed for teaching. Until 1999, the Museum was part of Harvard Medical School's Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. It is now an integral part of the Countway Library's Center for the History of Medicine. No longer a brick and mortar museum, the collection lives on as teaching and research resource. The present collection includes:
- 3,200 anatomical and osteological preparations
- 875 wet tissue preparations
- Over 1,000 watercolors, drawings, photographs, and lantern slides
- An estimated 1,000 anatomical models and casts
- 500 human and non-human calculi
- Roughly 8,500 medical, dental, and public health instruments and devices
The Warren Anatomical Museum does not have a centralized and searchable database. However, there are a number of online tools that contain Museum collections. These are listed below:
- Read the finding aid to the Museum's administrative, curatorial, teaching, and research activities records created between 1835 and 2010. The majority of the original catalogues can be viewed in the Center for the History of Medicine's Holmes Hall Reading Room.
- Search "Warren Anatomical Museum" in Hollis for Archival Discovery to discover descriptions of objects acquired with Center for the History of Medicine manuscript and archival collections, and objects acquired after January 1, 2018.
- Browse digitized Warren Anatomical Museum objects in OnView, the Center for the History of Medicine's digital collections portal.
- Browse digital exhibits in OnView that contain Museum items.
- Submit a reference request to Museum public services staff at email@example.com.
Warren Anatomical Museum Curator - Dominic Hall
Digitized works from the Warren Anatomical Museum
Digitized works in the Medical Heritage Library create a window into the historical and modern collections of the Warren Anatomical Museum. Not all of the specimens and objects listed in the below works have survived into modernity but museum staff can check if objects of interest are extant.
- J. B. S. Jackson’s 1870 Descriptive Catalogue of the Warren Anatomical Museum describes the first 3,681 cases of the Warren Anatomical Museum. Jackson was the Museum’s first curator, serving from 1847 to his death in 1879.
- Jackson was also curator of the Boston Society for Medical Improvement’s pathological cabinet and authored their 1847 A Descriptive Catalogue of the Anatomical Museum of the Boston Society for Medical Improvement. That collection was later merged into the Warren by Jackson circa 1875.
- The oldest published artifact catalogue associated with the Warren Anatomical Museum is the 1835 A Catalogue of Phrenological Specimens, belonging to the Boston Phrenological Society. John Collins Warren purchased the Boston Phrenological Society’s collection and donated its plaster casts to Harvard Medical School with the rest of his eponymous museum in 1847.
- The Warren Museum’s second curator, William Fiske Whitney, contributed two pamphlets to the museum’s published legacy.
- The first is the 1910 Bulletin of the Warren Anatomical Museum. The Bulletin was meant to be an ongoing series dedicated to different areas of the museum’s collection but funding was only secured for the first volume.
- Whitney also authored the 1911 The Warren Anatomical Museum of the Harvard Medical School and the Arrangement of its Collection. The short work illuminates the museum’s collection after its installation in the top three floors of the Medical School’s Building A, the focal point of school’s newly completed campus in 1906.
- The Warren Anatomical Museum actively collects artifacts and specimens from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. A list of these collections can be found on the research guide for the Harvard Chan School's archivist.