Highlights From the Warren Anatomical Museum

The collections inside this museum hold intriguing objects that tell the story of 19th century American medicine

An 1868 surgery kit, part of Harvard's Warren Anatomical Museum. (Warren Anatomical Museum)

Wooden model of Aké

Wooden model of Ake
(Warren Anatomical Museum)
A Chinese boy with a partially-formed parasitic twin protruding from his stomach (or sternum), Aké was examined by Philadelphia physician John Kearsley Mitchell in 1821. Mitchell published his findings in a medical journal, and Aké became somewhat of a medical celebrity at the time. Models of Aké, whether they were wood or ceramic, were used at other medical schools around the world to teach about parasitic twins. A British surgeon studied him from Hong Kong, models were sent to London’s Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, and at least two models came to Boston – one went to the Boston Society for Medical Improvement and the other was acquired by John Collins Warren.

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