Thursday, September 1, 2011

Well, sadly the Museum outlasted the AFIP

September sees the end of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. It grew out of the Museum during World War II, and took the Museum over after the War, but due to BRAC it's been closed and some of its functions divided. Bits of the AFIP's tenure remain of course - lots of AFIP numbered specimens are in the Museum, and lots of former Museum specimens will be in the Joint Pathology Center. The numbering systems remain intertwined. And of course this blog is named for a remark by an AFIP head.

I found it in a quote from one of the former curators. World War II confirmed the Army Medical Museum's primary role in pathology consultation. James Ash, the curator during the war and a pathologist, noted, "Shortly after the last war, more concerted efforts were instituted to concentrate in the Army Medical Museum the significant pathologic material occurring in Army installations." He closed with the complaint, "We still suffer under the connotation museum, an institution still thought of by many as a repository for bottled monsters and medical curiosities. To be sure, we have such specimens. As is required by law, we maintain an exhibit open to the public, but in war time, at least, the museum per se is the least of our functions, and we like to be thought of as the Army Institute of Pathology, a designation recently authorized by the Surgeon General."

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