Conservation of historic anatomical collections

Funded through the KUR – Programme for the Conservation of Moveable Cultural Assets

The Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt owns extremely rare collections of anatomical and histological specimens. The KUR project conserved its Comparative Anatomy, Embryology and Histology Collections and modernized them to meet the latest scientific and technical standards. As it is almost impossible to acquire such conserved specimens today, comparative anatomical collections have become increasingly significant for a wide variety of research issues in recent years. Therefore, the collection needed adequate care and preservation in order to prevent the specimens from decaying. Otherwise entire fields of knowledge, scientific evidence and potential research material would have been lost forever.
In the anatomical collection, the jars and labels required cleaning, and the fixing and preservative liquids had to be replaced. Because of inadequate storage conditions, the histological collection was relocated into suitable collection cabinets. Many of the specimens required intensive conservation as the slides were stuck together and had to be re-embedded. A new numbering system was also necessary for the historical collection so that the anatomical and histological specimens could be catalogued with the existing electronic databank. Following conservation, the collections were made available for scientific research and were presented in a touring exhibition.

Project administrator:
Senckenberg Natural History Society, Frankfurt am Main

Cooperative partners:
Berlin Museum of Natural History


Andreas Allspach

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

Senckenberganlage 25

60325 Frankfurt am Main

Tel.: +49 (0)69 75421369 (external link, opens in a new window)