Damaged roof threatens priceless moulages

The building that houses the largest and most important collection of dermatology moulages has a leaky roof, and the collection of these precious artifacts is in danger of being lost forever due to water damage. All ‘modern dermatologists’ can trace their lineage and training to its roots at the Hôpital Saint Louis in Paris.

The trinity of the birth of dermatology is London, Paris and Vienna, all of which have moulage collections, but the one in Paris is in an imperiled state.  The hospital was built in 1607 due to outbreaks of the plague in Paris.  It was designed to treat patients with unremitting illnesses, which basically included anyone with a chronic skin condition. It was here, in the early 1800’s that Jean-Louis Alibert would conduct his grand rounds in the center courtyard of the hospital with patients wearing placards indicating their diagnoses.

The Musée des Moulages on the grounds of the hospital was at the center of the development of dermatology as a medical specialty.  The moulage collection at this hospital played a crucial role in training and inspiring the first dermatologists all over the world.  Sadly, the museum building is in a state of disrepair.  The roof was badly damaged in a storm, and funds are lacking to fix it properly.



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Faculty at the Department of Dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern. interests: cutaneous lymphomas, medical student education, the relationship between art and medicine.

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