Improving Accessibility to Human Anatomical Museum Specimens for Teaching, Through Use of Modern Digitisation Techniques

Ferguson, E. , Khayruddeen, L. and Livingstone, D. (2019) Improving Accessibility to Human Anatomical Museum Specimens for Teaching, Through Use of Modern Digitisation Techniques. 19th Congress of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA 2019), London, UK, 9-11 Aug 2019.

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Anatomical museum specimens are an invaluable resource for teaching and public engagement. However, many of these specimens are fragile and irreplaceable. Modern visualisation techniques can aid in the preservation and safekeeping of historical museum specimens, while at the same time, facilitating wider access to these materials. Human fetal skull specimens from the University of Glasgow’s Museum of Anatomy were digitised as part of an MSc research project. The project utilised photogrammetry methods and application building software (Unity3D) to create a 3D computer application demonstrating the anatomy of the juvenile skull. The aim of this research was to assess whether interactive 3D applications could provide a useful tool for teaching Anatomy, by providing an alternative method of viewing anatomical specimens. A cohort of pre-medical students (n=12), attending an anatomy summer school at the University of Glasgow, trialled the application. Feedback was collected through anonymous questionnaires, using a 5-point Likert scale and open text comments. Overall, feedback was positive, with the majority of students (n=11) indicating that the application helped them to learn more about the human skull (x̅ = 4.58, σ = 0.67). Participants also positively rated the use of 3D models in understanding the position and structure of anatomical features on the juvenile cranium (x̅ = 4.33, σ = 0.78). Student comments were used to further improve the application, including provision of additional instructions and labels. This application is a first positive step in providing an alternative method for accessing anatomy specimens, however further research is required to assess if this type of interactive application is a suitable substitute for physical specimens in teaching anatomy. All work relating to use of museum specimens was conducted in accordance with the Anatomy Act 1984 and the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006 and ethical approval was granted by the Glasgow School of Art.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Livingstone, Dr Daniel and Ferguson, Dr Eilidh
Authors: Ferguson, E., Khayruddeen, L., and Livingstone, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
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