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The Manipal Museum of Anatomy and Pathology is one of the largest of its kind in Asia. Established in 1967, the museum is spread over 20,000 square feet and contains around 1,500 specimens of skeletons, cross sectional specimens, fetuses and animal skeletons and bones. The museum is divided into two separate spaces, Anatomy and Pathology. The Anatomy section displays specimens categorized under various human systems, while the Pathology section displays diseased human organs. For years, the museum has served as a valuable resource for both medical students and the general public.

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First steps
Our first task was to develop an idea as to how the visitor, whether a medical student or a layman, would experience the space. We asked ourselves, What should his journey be like?, What should the visitor experience as he moves around the museum? and What should be the defining essence of the museum One of the first things we did was map out the various sections within the museum, so as to be able to sufficiently accommodate each of the 8 sub-sections under anatomy and the 4 under pathology.

The central idea

The central idea was that that human body is a system that is comprised of several wholes - complete systems by themselves, as opposed to lesser, smaller parts. It was under this thought that specimens were categorized. Each whole plays a major role in keeping the larger body working. Our approach was to train visitors to adopt a way of looking at organs as complete systems by themselves. This way we could bring their attention to the complexity of the many subsystems within the body.

Creating a visual impact

Spaces come alive with what it has to offer visually. We believed a strong visual language would not only enhance the experience, but also go a long way in establishing the museums identity. The various sections in the museum are highlighted by beautiful illustrations, stylized in vivid glowing neon colors against black. This was our way of glorifying the amazing marvel that is the human body.

Creating a sense of ambience

We believed the ambience of the museum would dictate how the rather morbid specimens would be perceived by the viewer. The earlier incarnation of the museum was a mere warehouse containing catalogued specimens with no sense of ambience or atmosphere. What Idiom did was create an ambience that portrayed these specimens in a more graceful manner that inspired and excited the visitor, student and layman alike. Through the use of vivid visuals, lighting and carefully planned out zoning, the specimens were presented in a more appropriate context - one that was not only favorable to a learning experience, but also evocative of a sense of wonder with regard to the human body.

Creating a sense of focus

Specimens were to be categorized around specific themes (various body systems), so the museum had to be designed to enable the viewers focus to rest on one particular theme at a time. Topics were broken down into specific themes, under the larger subject of human anatomy and pathology. This meant we needed to develop an effective display system that aided in establishing system specific zones within the museum.

Educate. Inform. Inspire

Ever since its inception, the museum has always functioned as an invaluable educational resource for both students and the layman. An important task was to add value to the museums role as an educational resource. This was achieved by creating sets of medically accurate information graphics and illustrations, combined with easy-to-comprehend subject matter. The info-panels covered subjects ranging from basic descriptions of human systems to interesting facts to causes and symptoms of various diseases.

Preserving Heritage
What is perhaps Asias finest museum in the sphere of anatomy and pathology would never be complete without a mention of its history and heritage. A very crucial part of this project was to preserve and establish the legacy of the museum being part of the Manipal University, in the university town of Manipal. A history wall summarizing the life and works of the visionary Dr TMA Pai, founder of Manipal group, pays tribute to the man behind the University.

Nervous System | Anatomy Department

Reproductive System | Anatomy Department

Urinary system | Anatomy Department

Animal Anatomy | Anatomy Department

Congenital Anomalies | Pathology Department

Musculoskeletal system | Anatomy Department

Musculoskeletal system | Anatomy Department

Embryology | Anatomy Department

Installation | Orientation center

Signage and sculpture.