"The organized museum is to general pathology what the autopsy room is to medicine, what the dissection room is to anatomy, what—to go further afield—traveling to see new countries is to the study of geography."
Maude Abbott. The Museum in Medical Teaching. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1905
The Museum collection originated around the time of the founding of the Montreal General Hospital (c1822) and the Montreal Medical Institute (1823/24) (the forerunner of the McGill University Medical Faculty). In fact, the most famous artifact in the collection is the Holmes heart, a specimen procured at autopsy in 1822 by Dr. Andrew Holmes, first Dean of Medicine at McGill. A significant proportion of the specimens in the Museum was gathered in the late 1800s and early 1900s, including several hundred by William Osler during the eight years he spent as pathologist at the Montreal General Hospital. Many illustrate diseases or disease processes, such as syphilis, extrapulmonary tuberculosis, rickets and congenital cardiac anomalies, encountered uncommonly today in an untreated state in “developed” countries.