Infant Vaccination Model (From the Collection #21)

The Story

Wax models (moulages) were important clinical teaching tools in many European and North American hospitals well into the 1940s. Joseph Towne (1806 –1879) was a British moulageur and sculptor who is best known for the creation of wax anatomical models, many of which still survive today and are on display in the Guy’s Hospital medical school museum. For 53 years, he was the hospital’s anatomical model-maker – living and working in the basement where he produced compellingly lifelike wax models of the dissected, diseased corpses of former patients. He made more than 1,000 wax specimens, some of which are still used for teaching today. Towne guarded his methods jealously, especially his technique for applying colour to wax. The Royal Society of Arts awarded him several prizes for his work.

This particular moulage of an infant’s arm showing a typical vesicle on the tenth day after vaccination was likely brought to Canada by Dr. James Miller. In 1920 Dr. Miller moved from the University of Edinburgh to head the pathology department at Queen’s University, Kingston. An excellent educator, his textbook, Practical Pathology; Morbid Anatomy and Post-Mortem Technique (first edition 1914) was a recognised resource. During Dr. Miller’s tenure at Queen’s, the department housed a large museum of pathological specimens for teaching students.

The Specs

ACCESSION # (Web Link):997002031
Object Name:Infant Vaccination Wax Model
Manufacturer (Country):Joseph Towne (England)
Date Made:Circa 1850
MESH Code:Vaccination — models
Pediatrics — models
Models, Anatomic
MM= Teaching Materials — models

About “From the Collection”

“From the Collection” was a project originally published in 2010 to the Museum of Health Care’s website by former Curator Paul Robertson, with the goal being to highlight some the Museum’s most unique items that might be missed in our collection. Each artifact is presented as a bite-sized story, related information, and a link to it’s fully detailed entry on our free online digital catalogue!

Posts in the “From the Collection” series were originally created with support from Funded by the Ontario Museums and Technology Fund. The support of the Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is acknowledged.

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