History of Embalming and Restorative Arts

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Learning objectives

  • Discuss some of the reasons different cultures have embalmed their dead.
  • Describe the process and materials used to embalm the dead in ancient Egypt.
  • Discuss the historical changes affecting the embalming policy from the Dark Ages through the Renaissance.
  • Explain how the Civil War changed the history of embalming.
  • List three noted early American embalmers and their contributions to the field.
  • Name three inventions that significantly changed embalming techniques in the 1800s and 1900s.
  • Name the first well-known “demisurgeon” whose restorative techniques were a sensation in the early 1900s.
  • Discuss the findings from the recent National Cancer Society research, published in November 2009, and how this may affect the use of formaldehyde in embalming.
  • Explain the risks of arsenic in old cemeteries and embalmed bodies and how to protect yourself from exposure to arsenic.
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