King Rama V founded Siriraj Hospital in 1888 aiming to provide modern medical treatment for Thai people. While the hospital was under construction, HRH Prince Sirirajgaguthapan, the fifth son of Queen Sri Bajarindra, fell ill and died of cholera. The King donated the wood used in the Prince’s cremation ceremony to the building of hospital and gave it the name of the hospital Siriraj in memory of the prince.
The hospital was Thailand’s first medical school that has a large collection of books and medical specimen exhibited in several museums located in the hospital. The museum helps medical students with their studies and research projects.
Congdon Anatomical Museum: This two-loom museum was built in 1927 by Prof. Dr. Edgar Davidson Congdon, who was sent by the Rocky Feller Foundation to improve Thai medical studies. It features about 2,000 exhibits, including skeletons, figures of humans and anima the bodies and organs of Siamese twins, orgy preserved in ethyl-alcohol, and most importantly a display of the peripheral nervous system a blood system which are very difficult to dissect.
Sood Sangvicien Prehistoric Museum & Laboratory: The evolution of life forms from 500 million years ago to the beginning of primates 70 million years ago are on display here, as well as recent material on pre-history and evolution.
Parasitology Museum: This museum focuses on hookworms, pinworms, roundworms and you-name-it. Perhaps the most notable exhibit concerns a scrotum, 75 cm in diameter, dissected from a victim of elephantiasis, a disease resulting from contact with the mansonia mosquito.
Ellis Pathological Museum: It shows the evolution of medicine and organs infected with disease, which can be detected with the naked eye or seen only under the microscope.
Veekit Veeranuvati Museum: Medical equipment and books collected over 40 years by Dr. Veekit Veepanuvati, the founder of the Gastroenterological Association of Thailand, are stored here. Subjects include examination and diagnostic methods and equipment and research work.
Songkran Niyonsane Forensic Medicine Museum: Here, you will become closely acquainted with embalmed bodies of murderers, exhibits of ghastly deaths, and the ephemera gathered from murder scenes. Perhaps the most watched body is the standing, wax-filled remains of the notoriosu1950’s cannibal, Si Quey. His body has been filled with paraffin, and the autopsy scar is visible on his forehead (his brain was removed to determine if a cannibal’s mind is different anyone else’s. it wasn’t). The neatly hand-lettered sign notes that he killed “ because he loves to eat human’s organ not because of starving”.
There is a strangely avant-garde artistic aspect to many of the exhibits: the head of a victim of a gunshot wound to the head is neatly sawed in half lengthwise to illustrate the path of the bullet-hole, the whole package neatly encased in sealed glass filled with formaldehyde, perhaps the world’s grimmest aquarium.