chapter  15
16 Pages

Restoration Reconsidered: e Case of Skull Number 1-1-2/27 at the Anatomy Museum of the University of Basel

Curating an anatomical collection is difficult. Every decision entails consideration of the need to rearrange, the value of restoration and the financial implications. It is not such a problem when it is simply a matter of filling up a bottle, but things get tricky when it comes to touching and changing historical material. This chapter is about just such a tricky restoration: the fate of skull 1-1-2/27 at the Anatomy Museum of the University of Basel (see Figures 15.1 and 15.2). It is exhibited in the museum to demonstrate the position and shape of an anatomical variety of the ossa suturalia – the tiny soft bones found in the sutures between cranial bones. As it sits there in the display case, there seems to be nothing special about the skull. It appears to be a good, clean anatomical specimen. But its shiny surface conceals several layers of history.