By Louise Stewart:
In April school holidays I visited, together with two of my sisters and Mum, the Museum of Human Disease at the University of New South Wales in Kensington.
Inside were over 3000 different interesting specimens which displayed diseased human tissue, preserved in formalin. The various lungs, livers, brains etc. show the impact of both infectious and non-infectious diseases as well as impact of antibiotics, genetic factors and lifestyle choices as smoking, drinking and drugs. Each piece is numbered and museum catalogues provide any know clinical history and a description of the abnormalities displayed in the specimens.
A unique science experience was offered during the recent school holidays: “Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse”. To survive, we first had to investigate 10 different infectious and non-infectious diseases, understand their causes, symptoms and how to fight them. There were exhibits on each disease we had to research throughout the museum. Once we understood the diseases, we had to diagnose ten fictional people after reading their case studies. Ultimately we had to identify which one of the fictional people described had zombie disease.
Although not actively participating, we witnessed a dissection workshop where participants were guided by a member of the museum’s staff with dissecting a kidney. They were getting to know the structure and function of the kidneys and comparing them to the diseased examples in the museum (something to consider at a possible future visit).
As the museum is located at the University of NSW, we also briefly checked out the student life at university.