From Pastels to PDA's: Medical
Education from the 18th c. to the 21st c. exhibits
our collection of sixteen Jan Van Rymsdyk anatomical drawings
for the first time together in one display. Opening to
the public on December 1, 2009, this exhibition is sure to
engage visitors interested in the history of medicine.
Long before the use of the X-ray, CAT scan, ultrasound and digital
technology, the use of images played an important role in the
medical education of students. Anatomical illustrations
were cutting edge in the eighteenth century, and Jan Van Rymsdyk
was known as one of the best anatomical illustrators in the world.
Van Rymsdyk has kept his stature over the past two and a half
These illustrations were created with crayon making
them very susceptible to damage, however, they survived a trip
across the ocean in 1762 to become a center of the medical education
young men received. In a letter dated April 7, 1762, Fothergill
need not tell thee that the knowledge of anatomy is of exceeding
great use to Practionors in Physic and Surgery & that the
means of procuring Subjects with you are not easy.” Medical
education was about to change forever in Philadelphia.
Fothergill further offered his opinion that the drawings “not
to be seen by every Person but with the Permission of a Trustee & for
some small Gratuity for the Benefitt of the House.” Heeding
Dr. Fothergill's warning, the drawings were viewed on a
limited basis and carefully housed to protect them. Today,
as 247 years ago, the drawings are viewed on a limited basis
making this exhibit a rare treat for the public. The exhibition
will run until December 2010.
For more information please call 215-829-5434.