anatomical conservatory (8)At the heart of the prestigious Faculty of Medicine in Montpellier, the Anatomy Conservatory was an incomparable teaching tool for generations of medical students, before the current techniques for exploring the human body. Today, it is a privileged witness to the history of anatomy teaching.

Dissection subjects, wax, plaster or papier-mâché casts, surgical instruments, etc., are displayed in the period showcases throughout the visit - in all, more than 13,000 objects, one of the largest collections in France. A journey back in time, to discover a discipline taught in Montpellier since the end of the Middle Ages...

A museum rich in students

Anatomical conservatory The anatomy conservatory was created at the same time as the opening of the Montpellier health school in 1795, and was enriched by its students. In 1798, the Montpellier Medical School adopted a new measure: "no student can be admitted to the final examinations without having presented a natural or artificial anatomical specimen to be deposited at the Conservatory". In addition, famous doctors and surgeons offered parts from pathological cases observed in hospitals.

Opened in 1852 to present collections gathered since 1795, the Anatomy Conservatory first had a pedagogical function: to make available to the students of the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier the collections dedicated to the teaching of medicine and natural sciences.

In 1851, the growth of the collections necessitated the construction of a new building. The Anatomy Museum moved into a gallery built by the architect Pierre-Charles Abric (1800-1871), just opposite the Jardin des Plantes, where it still stands today.

The conservatory presents, in a majestic setting punctuated by colonnades, and under the aegis of famous doctors and allegories painted by the Montpellier artist Jean-Pierre Montseret (1813-1888), a succession of showcases describing the human body in detail as well as its pathologies.

The conservatory also collects series of wax casts - notably that of the Florentine Felice Fontana - in plaster or papier-mâché, surgical instruments and orthopaedic material. Other collections relating to comparative anatomy, zoology and archaeology complete the collection.

The collections of the Montpellier Anatomy Conservatory were classified as a historical monument in 2004.

Virtual visit


2, rue de l'École de Médecine
34000 Montpellier
Car: parking Pitot
Tramway :
  • Line 1: stop Place Albert 1er - Saint Charles
  • Line 4 : Albert 1er - Cathédrale stop

Bus :

  • Line 6 : Peyrou - Arc de triomphe stop
  • Line 7 : Saint Roch, Saint Jaumes or Peyrou - Arc de triomphe stops
  • Line 10: Saint Roch stop.

Practical information

Guided tours are organised by the Tourist Office.
More information

Virtual visit