Save the Moulages was created to raise money to repair a leaky roof on the building which stores one of the oldest and most important moulage collections in dermatology. We need to preserve this important part of medical history.
You can aid in preserving the moulages in three ways:
- Donate directly to the museum HERE
- Donate through our gofundme page HERE
- Purchase items through our etsy store HERE
In the 1800’s photography was not commercially available, and the founding-fathers of dermatology needed an accurate way to record skin diseases. Hand-drawing was limited in capturing all of the fine details of skin conditions. The earliest dermatologists either were artists themselves, or employed artists to make a plaster cast directly on patients to create an impression of the body and skin condition. Wax was then poured into the cast to create a life-like figure which was hand-painted to record all the color and fine details of each skin condition. Moulages were hung along the walls inside of the first dermatology departments so that future generations could study them to learn about skin disease. Once photography became easily accessible in the 1920’s-1930’s, moulage-making became less common and many collections were lost or destroyed over subsequent years.
Save the Moulages is also a way to pay homage to, and learn a little about key figures in dermatology. Each month, we plan to feature a pair of dermatologists: present + past; with an interview of the present, and interesting tidbits about the past, as a way to indulge in a bit of learning about dermatologic kith and kin.
I started reading about moulages when preparing a presentation about the relationship of art and early dermatology. The story of the moulages made me feel very emotional and anxious about their conservation for future generations. I visited the Hopital Saint-Louis and saw first-hand the leaky roofs and irreplaceable moulages being ruined by water, mold, and temperature instability.
The Musee des Moulages was the site of the first international meeting for dermatologists in the world. Because it is on the campus of the Hopital Saint-Louis, it is considered part of the national healthcare system in France and funding for patient care means that no money is left for repairing the roof. So the museum is relying on a temporary solution of plastic tarps and buckets to try and prevent the worst damage. The museum is allowed to accept direct earmarked donations from individuals but due to its situation in the national healthcare system it cannot independently solicit funds.
To accompany monthly profiles, I will create an original hand-drawn portrait of each dermatologist which will be silkscreened in limited editions of 25 on 100% organic cotton tote bags, the sale of which will also raise funds for the restoration of the moulage collection.