One of the most comprehensive public collections of human pathology anywhere in the world - the Museum of Human Disease at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) - is opening its doors to greater access for the general public.

From 24 March, the Museum will open on weekdays between 3-5pm, offering self-guided audio tours.

Boasting more than 2,500 real human specimens of diseased tissue and associated exhibits, the Museum allows visitors to see first-hand the often graphic effects of human ailments, from the most common to the most obscure.

Except for popular annual Open Days, the Museum has traditionally been the exclusive realm of pathologists, medical students and high school visitors. It is hoped that the increased public access, along with self-guided audio tours featuring descriptions of important specimens and disease processes by UNSW experts, will enable more people to benefit from this amazing resource.

For a small fee, visitors can see and hear about the effects of obesity and smoking and how these contribute to common conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. The dead tissue of a gangrenous foot is a stark example of the impact of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Other common disease processes and ailments on display include gallstones, asthma and cancer in all its forms.

Museum manager Robert Lansdown said that while the collection can be confronting, the new audio tour makes it different from other travelling exhibitions of human anatomy.

"We recognise the sensitive nature of this collection and ensure all visitors understand the importance of viewing the specimens respectfully.

"Our objective is to promote good health and recognise the generous contribution that our donors have made to our understanding of human health."

What: Launch of audio tours and extended public visiting hours (weekdays, 3-5pm).

When: Tuesday 24 March at 11am

Where: Museum of Human Disease, Samuels Building, UNSW Upper Campus, (F25 on the campus map)

RSVP essential. Contact Robert Lansdown on 9385 2190 or

To further the Museum's reach and public health message, regional tours of Museum exhibits are planned for Wagga Wagga (April, '09) and Coffs Harbour (July, '09).

IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILMINGPhotography and filming in the Museum is usually prohibited due to the graphic nature of the collection. However, filming will be allowed on the day. Photographers are requested to act sensitively to ensure the respectful portrayal of specimens.

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 |