Educational Models

Educational Models

Models have a long history in biological and medical teaching. They are well suited to demonstrating small or ephemeral details, or things that are otherwise hard to preserve. Often the models are more than just educational tools: they are works of art in their own right. The making of such models was at its height during the late 19th and early 20th century. The University is fortunate in having many models from this period by some of the greatest exponents of the art.

Jellyfish Porpita mediterranea. ABDUZ:10579
Photographer: Max Mackenzie 

Leopold Blaschka (1820-1895) and Rudolf Blaschka (1857-1939) were a father and son partnership from Bohemia. They gained acclaim as glass workers through their accurate modelling of flowers and marine invertebrates. The Zoology Museum holds one of the most important collections of their work containing thirty four Blaschka glass models of marine invertebrates. The University also holds fluid preserved specimens of marine invertebrates from Hecknel, one of the scientists who inspired the Blaschkas. This glass model of jellyfish porpita was made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.

Brendel model of corn poppy. 
Not catalogued.
Photographer: Martyn Gorman 

Robert Brendel (1821-1898) and his son Reinhold (1861-1927) produced careful models of enlarged flowers. They were designed to teach botanical morphology and classification based on plant structures. The models were made from papier mâché, with other materials such as wood, cotton, rattan, pulp cane, glass beads, feathers and gelatine. The University holds over 150 examples.

Model of the nerves in the brain of a fetus by Friedrich Ziegler
ABDAN:2371 Photographer: Max Mackenzie 

From around 1850 to 1920, first Adolf Ziegler and then his son, Friedrich, crafted wax models of developing embryos. These were used throughout the world for teaching embryology. The University holds 130 of the models covering the development of human and animal organs. In addition there are fifty other wax models of anatomy from unknown makers.


Early bock lips steger of Leipzig.
Ceramic model of head showing
right half of head and neck, only
lower half of skull modelled;
showing muscles round eye, cheek
and neck. ABDAN:2344 

Moden Plastic models. Placstic
model of heart; on metal stand,

mounted on plastic base. 

Six painted ceramic models of human organs made by the prominent model maker Bock Lips Steger in Leipzig in the late 19th century are also in the collection.

The Anatomy Museum has a collection of around 300 pastic models of the human form. The majority of these models are contemporary plastic models made by Adam Rouilly. 


The collection contains a diverse range of models which include everything from medical models such as the one shown to models of the weather.
This is a model of the eye showing how glasses correct vision.

Giant dismantling model of snail by Louis Auzoux.
Photographer: Max Mackenzie 

 Louis Auzoux (1797-1880), a French medical graduate, was the pre-eminent maker of plaster and papier mâché anatomical and zoological models during the 19th century. He developed anatomically accurate models of body structures that could be taken apart and reassembled by the student.
The University holds around 42 Auzoux objects, mainly in the Anatomy Museum, but also in the Pathology and Zoology collections.

For more information on the University museum and archival collections please search the online catalogue