Anatomical and Botanical Models
A collection of 46 anatomical and botanical models of animals such as bees and silkworms; plants including wheat and lilac and teaching models of human anatomy such as the eye, ear, heart and digestive organs. They include papier-mache models made by Louis Thomas Jérome Auzoux.
In the second half of the nineteenth century interest in the anatomical structure of the animal and vegetable world increased markedly. Problems with acquiring and preserving delicate tissues and organs led to the production of models for use in illustrating the workings of the human body. If real bodies were difficult to find for educational purposes the same was true for zoological and botanical specimens, especially those from the more remote parts of the globe.
This increase in demand came at a time when new manufacturing processes enabled them to be used in classrooms for educational purposes. Traditionally wax was the material used to make models but this was particularly vulnerable to changes in temperature causing them to melt or lose their shape.
One solution was to use papier-mâché to make structural models of all kinds of objects found in nature. Modellers found it more robust and it could be built in sections that could be removed in layers as if a real dissection were taking place. A pioneer of this form of modelling was Louis Thomas Jérome Auzoux (1797-1880) a French medical graduate, whose medical background enabled him to make highly accurate models . His experiments with papier-mâché resulted in the development of a variety of finishes which incorporated plaster, fabric and glass. The other aspect of Auzoux's success was his application of moulding techniques which allowed him to produce models in larger numbers.
As the century progressed the use of a thin plaster layer covering the papier-mâché gave way to plaster models. however these lacked the level of detail of those by earlier manufacturers such as Auzoux or Ramee. Made during between 1850 and 1900 these models are examples of early teaching aids available to Australian students of the applied sciences.
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By appointment - Powerhouse Museum
Anatomical models; Demonstration models