Visual Media in Embryology

Embryology has always been an intensely visual field. The study of embryogenesis—how individual cells move, communicate, die, band together, and push against one another—relies heavily on the production and close study of visual media.  Throughout the late-19th and 20th centuries, embryologists at the MBL created and engaged with drawings and later photographs and films to investigate development. These media played a productive role in embryological research. They were used to stage embryos, to visualize embryonic cell movements and lineages, to document experimental outcomes, and as a means of developing and honing observation skills.