Musée d’Anatomie de Montpellier – Montpellier, France - Atlas Obscura

Musée d’Anatomie de Montpellier

This French anatomy museum greets guests with a skinless man, mid-shovel. 


The historic Musée d’Anatomie de Montpellier displays a number of unsettling anatomical specimens including the central figure of a literally muscular man digging with a shovel.

Established in the 1790s at the decree of the French government, the collection was originally meant as a training tool for surgeons. The historic collection was outfitted with formaldehyde specimens in jars, anatomical models, and animal skeletons for prospective doctors to study and learn from. Since its inception, the collection has grown and now sits in a lovely gallery space divided by elegant marble columns.

The Conservatory now holds over 5,000 specimens with the deformed little figures and assorted parts floating in yellowing fluids and wax figures becoming ever more delicate.

In addition to the gruesome medical leftovers lining the shelves and glass cases there is also a surgical theater that was built in the early 1800s that guests can explore, dreaming of the grim scenes that probably led to many of the pieces in the gallery.  

Know Before You Go

It is necessary to book ahead of time. Booking well in advance is advised as tours are often booked up months in advance. Also be aware no photography is allowed inside.

The museum is located inside the Faculty of Medicine, near the historical city-centre. It is advised to go on foot or by bike rather than by car.

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