Museums of the Medical College


The faculties of the Medical College treat their history with reverence, oftentimes through the preservation of unique exhibits and collections. The museums serve not only for conducting classes but also for carrying out histori­cal research. Some remain open to the general public, giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about different types of medical equipment used in the past, how medicines looked and how they were prepared, and what unusual ingredients were used in the production of ointments and pills used to restore the health of our ancestors. Numerous anatomical and anatomopathological specimens are includ­ed in these collections.


Museum of Anatomopathology of the Chair of Pathomorphology


Credit for starting one of Poland's richest collections of anatomopathological specimens, located at the Chair of Pathomorphology on ul. Grzegórzecka (Grzegórzecka Street), belongs to Józef Brodowicz and Ludwik Bierkowski, who began collecting specimens more than a century ago (1831-1834). Professor Bierkowski's collection includes, among others, the oldest anatomical specimen in Poland, first presented to King Sobieski in 1691 as a "curiosity of nature". This specimen is that of an approximately four month old fetus, sealed in a flask of green glass, preserved with the use of an animal bladder and a brass band, inscribed in Latin, which reads that the specimen was pre­pared on July 20, 1668 in a town called Szynwałd. Professor Ciechanowski wrote about this specimen in his work.

In its historical prime, the museum boasted a collection of over 5000 anatomopathological specimens obtained from surgical procedures carried out at Professor Bierkowski's clin­ic and donated by numerous physicians from all over Poland and Lithuania. Notes regarding these preparations may be found in a catalogue preserved at the Jagiellonian University Archive. In this catalogue, one may read, among others, how the heart aneusysm of a merchant from Lublin was described on post-mortem examination as a "cancerous womb" (speci­men donated by Professor Sawiczewski and Doctor Boelke from Vilnius).

The museum of anatomopathology still houses a collection of unique pathological specimens, such as a teratological collection of fetuses with rare congenital defects and metic­ulously prepared skeletons of conjoined babies. Especially noteworthy are specimens showing pathological changes, which, thanks to progress in medicine, generally no longer occur. Descriptions of these changes remain only to be found in a handful of old textbooks.


Museum of Anatomy of the Chair of Anatomy


The Museum of Anatomy is located in the Anatomy Building, or Theatrum Anatomicum, on ul. Kopernika (Kopernika Street), built in 1869. The museum was established by the then direc­tor of the Chair of Anatomy, Professor Ludwik Teichman.

The museum comprises three halls housing over 1000 exhibits which date in large part to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The first hall is comprised of specimens of human bones and joints and several animal species. The second hall is comprised of specimens of various human organs sealed in jars and pre­served in alcohol or formalin solution as well as corrosion models and preparations. The next room houses mainly specimens produced by Professor Teichman. These specimens include aortas, veins, lymphatic ves­sels, and various canals of the human body injected with a color solution, next prepared and preserved. The exhibits form a collection unique on a global scale.

The collection of the Museum of Anatomy of the Chair of Anatomy constitutes a valuable didactic resource for the large group of medical students and students from other Faculties and professional medical programs at the Medical College who periodically visit the museum.


Museum of the Faculty of Medicine


For centuries, the Faculty of Medicine has been collecting valuable documents concerning its history. In 1900, Professor Walery Jaworski proposed the idea of establishing a formal museum. He devoted part of his life to collecting medical memorabilia and managed to obtain priceless articles from numerous Professors of Medicine, including a rich collection of case histories, documents, paintings, photographs, and portraits. Many other exhibits were donated by the families and relatives of Professors. Owing to this fact, visitors to the museum can familiarize themselves with erstwhile surgical instruments (e.g., trepanation instruments, pliers for operat­ing cheiloschisis), stethoscopes, mallei, and colposcopes. Other interesting exhibits include medals minted for special occasions, case histories which provide a wealth of informa­tion on past treatment methods, a collection of books high­lighting the most notable achievements in Polish medical lit­erature (e.g., an herbal guide by Marcin Siennik and Szymon Syreniusz), and books by other famous foreign physicians. Among the collection of old correspondence, one may also read letters exchanged between Professor Jaworski and Maria Sktodowska-Curie detailing the Faculty of Medicine's purchase of radium, discovered by Sktodowska-Curie.
In its history, the Museum has known both prosperous and troubling times. Presently, thanks to help from the Kraków Medical Society, this unique collection is exhibited in several sites. The very building in which the Museum is located is also of interest. Designed by Stanisław Wyspiański, the build­ing impresses with its Art Nouveau interior, magnificent stained-glass windows, balustrade, and meeting hall.


Museum of Pharmacy


The Kraków Museum of Pharmacy was established in 1946 by Doctor Stanisław Proń, then legal adviser and administra­tive director of the District Pharmacy Chamber (Okręgowa Izba Aptekarska) in Kraków and first director of the Museum. Until the end of 1980s, the Museum was located in a tene­ment on ul. Basztowa (Basztowa Street), consisting of a few poorly lit rooms-conditions not optimal for any exhibit.
However, conditions radically improved when the museum collection was moved to a restored 15th century building on ul. Floriańska (Floriańska Street). Although this building continued to be renovated over the years, it remains archi­tecturally similar in style to its neighbors, having preserved many of its historic elements, such as the Gothic vaulted cellars, Renaissance portals, two Renaissance beam ceilings (one of which is adorned with polychrome), and a meticu­lously renovated 19th century fresco depicting a stylized garden in pastel colors.
Museum exhibits bear testimony to the history of pharmacy from the Middle Ages to the present day. Collections include raw materials and medicines (e.g., bezoar, a concrement accumulating in the digestive tracts of some ruminant ani­mals, for ages credited with antidotal properties or a portion of theriac - Old Polish: dryjakiew - in its original 17th centu­ry wrapping), antique apothecary jars and vessels as well as a large collection of exhibits from various European manu­facturers in Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands, and Great Britain, mortars of different shapes and sizes, apothecary utensils, and ancient laboratory equipment (e.g., 17th centu­ry distillation alembic), memorabilia of eminent pharmacists (e.g., Tadeusz Pankiewicz, owner of the "Pod Orłem" phar­macy in Kraków and author of the The Cracow Ghetto Pharmacy [Apteka w gettcie krakowskim], since translated into many languages), a stamp collection depicting the his­tory of pharmacy, and pharmaceutical curiosities, or curiosa pharmaceutica, including such oddities as jars labelled "Axungia hominis" (human fat), "Cantharides" (Spanish flies), "Millepedes" (centipedes), and "Blattae orientales" (cock­roaches). Furthermore, the interior mimics that of an 18th century pharmacy, including a restored apothecary laborato­ry, barrel and flask cellar for medicinal wines, and attic for drying and storing herbs. There are also pieces of furniture from old monastic pharmacies and Empire and Neo-Baroque style furniture. The museum library hous­es old herbal guides, antidotaria, phar­macopeias, and other old prints relating to the history of pharmacy.