Monday, July 25, 2011

Amsterdam-Based Museum Vrolik Closed for Redesign; July 29th Last Day to Visit Before it Closes!

This just in from my friend Laurens De Rooy, curator of the fantastic Amsterdam-based Museum Vrolik, specimens of which are pictured above:
Museum Vrolik to close for ten months
Following in the footsteps of other top museums in Amsterdam, the Vrolik Museum will close for refurbishment and redesign from August 2011 to May 2012. The ten-month overhaul of the anatomy museum of the Academic Medical Centre aims to make the unique collection more appealing to a broader public. The 29th of July will be the last opportunity to visit the museum before it closes.

Museum Vrolik has been one of the AMC’s main attractions since 1984. Its collection includes items that are hundreds of years old, with more than ten thousand anatomical specimens in preservative, human and animal skeletons and skulls, and anatomical models and reconstructions. One of the museum’s treasures is the so-called Hovius display case, an 18th-century case full of bones and skulls ravaged by disease collected by physician Jacob Hovius. Of great scientific importance is the collection of congenital defects, including Siamese twins, cyclops and sirens.

An inspiring environment for all with an interest in disease, health, and the human body
With students of medicine and specialists the museum’s original target group, visitors without a medical background would often find the museum’s layout dated or even a little haphazard. Following its refurbishment, the museum should attract a much broader public, and serve as an easily accessible and inspiring learning environment for all with an interest in disease, health and the human body.
The main exhibition will feature the human body with all of its normalities and abnormalities, but the museum will also look into the history of its many different collections, honouring its original founders. The museum was named after Amsterdam professors Gerardus Vrolik (1775-1859) and his son Willem Vrolik (1801-1863), both anatomists and collectors. After their deaths, the Vrolik collection was expanded by other Amsterdam professors of anatomy.

The best exhibits now on show at the Special Collections UvA
During the closure of the museum a number of the museum’s top exhibits will be temporarily on display at the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam (located at Oude Turfmarkt) which will host the exhibition ‘the discovery of man’ from 27 September 2011 to 15 January 2012. Together with Museum Vrolik, the Special Collections will exhibit anatomy atlases and specimens and explore how the dissection of the human body has changed man's view of himself. For further information, go to

Museum Vrolik
Academisch Medisch Centrum
Meibergdreef 15, J0-130 (Medical Faculty)
Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission free
If this museum and/or the photos above are of interest, make sure to check out the lavishly illustrated publication Forces of Form:The Vrolik Museum which includes these images and more; you can ind out more--or order a copy of your very own!--by clicking here.

  1. Part of a face, with the eye, eyelids and eyebrows (Vrolik collection); Photo by Hans van den Bogaard (all rights reserved)
  2. New-born conjoined twins , linked at the chest (thoracopagus) (Vrolik collection); Photo by Hans van den Bogaard (all rights reserved)

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