University Archives & Special Collections, A-6797. (Patrick Hayes)

Murray Museum of Pathology

The University of Saskatchewan became home to the world’s first photographic museum of pathology in May 1950.

It was hailed as “a progressive aid in the teaching of medicine” and consisted of 2,000 “photographic reproductions of all the organs, blood vessels, tissue and other parts of the human body showing the development of all the diseases and ailments that beset the human frame.”

The black and white photos were the work of Dr. J.W. Adams, assistant professor of Pathology, who shot specimens in the collection of the University of Toronto.

The project was funded by the Saskatoon Kiwanis Club to the tune of $5,000 and named in memory of Dr. Walter Murray, the first president of the University of Saskatchewan.

Here, John Adams (Professor of Pathology), Dr. Caldwell (Saskatoon physician), Dr. Stewart Lindsay (Dean of Medicine) and A.M. Blues (Kiwanis Club) are standing inside the Murray Museum of Pathology with a group of physicians who are members of the Kiwanis Club.

Dean Lindsay saw the museum as “a wonderful aid in the teaching of medicine.”

He also saw an advantage of photos over specimens because images would not deteriorate over time. He predicted that the collection would still be useful to students in 50 years. At some point the museum became redundant and the photos and the memorial plaque vanished.   

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