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The Transparent Man.

Transparent Man

Field review by the editors.

Rochester, Minnesota

The fairly interesting and grisly Mayo Clinic Museum closed in 1988 -- we still fondly recall the farm accidents and cretinism displays. One vestige of the old museum remains at the Mayo Clinic -- the sad Transparent Man.

This life-sized see-thru glass guy was created in the early 1930s at the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden. The transparent "skin" enclosed an accurate recreation of the circulatory system, skeleton, and major organs of a typical adult male. The Transparent Man's arms are raised up above his head, his face upturned. The between-war Germans were enthralled by the benefits of clean air and the sun in cultivating a healthy body, and even a see-through German man could expect modest perks from Nature.

He was a star in the Mayo Clinic exhibit at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The Transparent Man was one of the first see-through anatomical tools used in health education (later generations of Americans seemed to prefer Transparent Women, for some reason). From 1935 to 1988, the Transparent Man stood in the Mayo Clinic Museum.

Now he simply amuses Education Center visitors, standing on his pedestal for the last twenty years with his arms raised up to the ceiling. Why is he sad? Because he's never seen the sun.

Transparent Man

Siebens Medical Education Building

200 1st St. SW, Rochester, MN
Downtown. At the Mayo Clinic, on the subway level of the Siebens Medical Education Building, in the Patient Education Center.
Closed Sa-Su. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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