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Wax casts and drawings of the “Gueules Cassées at Val-de-Grace


The history of the Val-de-Grâce Army Training Hospital is part of a long tradition of French military medicine. This began to be organized under the impetus of the surgeon Ambroise Paré, from the 16th century, before taking the form of an Army Health Service, established by the edict of King Louis XIV of January 17, 1708.

It was at the time of the French Revolution, on July 31, 1793, that it was decided to build a military hospital on the religious site of Val-de-Grâce, on the site of the former vegetable garden of the abbey. created by Anne of Austria in 1621. 

It was in the midst of the 1914-1918 war, on July 2, 1916, that the new establishment was inaugurated in the cloister. “During the four years of the war, nearly 100,000 archive files, 10,000 objects and 6,500 photographs were collected or produced, thus constituting a unique and complete example of a commissioned museum, with a single theme: the aid to the wounded from the battlefield to the hospital”, details the website of the museum.

All the missions of military medicine are exposed there. From the rise of maxillofacial surgery, with wax casts of the “Gueules Cassées”from the Great War, to underwater and aerospace medicine or the fight against toxic gases and infectious diseases.

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