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University Archives & Special Collections

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Anatomical Flap Books

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This exhibit highlights some of the incredible anatomical flap books from the Thomas Jefferson University Archives & Special Collections. Anatomy flap books have a long history dating back to the sixteenth century on through to today, where the technology can still be seen in children's pop-up books. The movable flaps in these anatomy books allow the viewer to simulate the act of dissection, to see the arrangement of organs within the human body, to study the individual components of the eye, or to analyze the inner workings of the ear.

Over the years flap books were used by doctors, medical students, artists, and the general public to learn more about human anatomy. Because of their age and handmade nature, many of the remaining flap books are fragile and cannot stand heavy use, which is why we are so excited to be able to show them off here in video form.