chapter  10
16 Pages

Fall and Rise of the Roca Museum: Owners, Meanings and Audiences of an Anatomical Collection from Barcelona to Antwerp, 1922–2012

Historians of science have only lately begun to consider the exhibition spaces under scrutiny in this chapter. Until recently, university and popular anatomy museums were known only to a limited circle of curators, collectors and antiquarians. The recent increase in attention has been devoted particularly to university museums, whose scientific purpose was indisputable.1 In contrast, popular anatomical museums have received little attention from historians.2 Michael Sappol put it clearly when he stated that historians of medicine ‘considered them part of the history of quackery, or not at all’, that some historians of popular culture merely rescued them as examples of ‘the rock bottom of the

1 Samuel J.M.M. Alberti, ‘Placing Nature: Natural History Collections and Their Owners in Nineteenth-Century Provincial England’, British Journal for the History of Science, 35, 2002, pp. 291-311; Allison Kraft, ‘“Equal though different”: Laboratories, Museums, and the Institutional Development of Biology in Late Victorian Northern England’, Studies in History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 34, 2003, pp. 203-26; Allison Kraft, ‘Objects and the Museum’, Isis, 96, 2005, pp. 559-71.