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National Museum of Health and Medicine Announces Collaborative Research and Development Agreement Supporting Exhibit and Interactive Mobile App Technologies

September 25, 2012 (Silver Spring, Maryland): The National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM), a Department of Defense museum located in Silver Spring, Md., recently signed a collaborative research and development agreement with the National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago (NMHMChicago) and an external software developer.

NMHMChicago and its external software development team recently developed two interactive applications in partnership with NMHM staff. Among other elements of the agreement, NMHM staff provided subject matter expertise and access to unique museum collections as part of the partnership.

The first NMHMChicago release, Anatlab, has been featured in the NMHM's new exhibit installation and debuted on the Museum's 150th anniversary this past May. Anatlab is a virtual anatomy laboratory for medical education. The web-based environment allows users to navigate through human anatomy, using a knowledge base of more than 700,000 annotations covering more than 2,500 different named anatomical structures. The application derives from data in the National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project, which includes images of a male human cadaver that was first frozen then sectioned prior to photographing and scanning each section. The data was eventually reconstructed using 3-D computer imaging software, and then used in the Anatlab application. Anatlab is installed on a multi-touch table that offers visitors a unique interactive contrasted with the natural human specimens installed in nearby exhibit cases.

NMHMChicago facilitated another element of their collaborative agreement with NMHM when they managed the digital scanning of a unique slide set in the holdings of the NMHM in Silver Spring. That slide set is part of a larger collection of sectioned brain material and other archival matters from the estate of Dr. Thomas Harvey, who performed Albert Einstein's autopsy in 1955. Slides of Einstein's brain, along with the original Harvey-drawn maps of the brain cataloging Harvey's sectioning of the specimen, are now part of the NMHM's Otis Historical Archives. The Chicago team contributed a complete set of the new digital scans of the Harvey slides to the NMHM archives as part of the collaborative agreement.

NMHM in Silver Spring continued their working relationship with NMHMChicago in recent months, resulting in a new interactive mobile application called the “Harvey Collection App.” NMHMChicago will release the NMHMC Harvey Collection App via the Apple App Store exclusively for iPads in September 2012. Slides from the NMHM's Harvey Collection were scanned and processed by a team of scientists and computer programmers at Vista, Calif.-based Aperio. Scientists at NMHMChicago developed an atlas of more than 350 neuroanatomical images that can be explored at the cellular level using the innovative new Vscope System, a virtual microscope also designed by scientists working for NMHMChicago.

About the National Museum of Health and Medicine

  • The National Museum of Health and Medicine, established in 1862, is a Department of Defense museum that inspires interest in and promotes the understanding of medicine -- past, present, and future -- with a special emphasis on tri-service American military medicine. As a National Historic Landmark recognized for its ongoing value to the health of the military and to the nation, the Museum identifies, collects, and preserves important and unique resources to support a broad agenda of innovative exhibits, educational programs, and scientific, historical, and medical research. The Museum has relocated to 2500 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, Md., 20910. Visit the Museum website at www.medicalmuseum.mil or call (301) 319-3300.