MassMu Collection: Oscar

Oscar the Skeleton


Oscar has both scared and delighted visitors since he was donated to the Massillon Museum in September of 1934. Although we know that Oscar was a man about 40 years old, we have no record of who he was or how he died. Dr. Fred L. Rhodes was in medical school when he dissected Oscar and preserved him in the form we know.

Dr. Fred Rhodes was born in Ripley, West Virginia. He attended West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1907-1908 and Ohio University from 1909-1910. He went on to medical school at Starling Ohio Medical College from 1912-1914. Starling became Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1914. Dr. Rhodes graduated from Ohio State in 1916. Rhodes’ best exam grades were in the subject of anatomy.

In Massillon’s 1920 City Directory, Fred Rhodes is listed as being an assistant physician at Massillon State Hospital. In 1925, he is listed as assistant superintendent. He and his wife Mary lived on the State Hospital grounds. By 1933, he had left the hospital and is listed as having been a physician and surgeon at an office in the Ohio Merchants Building.

Fred Rhodes died in October of 1939 in Columbus at the age of 49. His obituary in the Columbus Dispatch reads as follows:
“Dr. Fred Lawwill Rhodes of Massillon, Ohio, at White Cross Hospital, Tuesday morning, age 49. Survived by wife, Mary; mother, Mrs. Sallie Rhodes of Cottageville, W. Va.; sister, Sue I. Burger of Lansing, Michigan; 2 brothers, David W. Rhodes of Cottageville, and John H. Rhodes of Ripley, W. Va. Body resting at Shaw-Davis Funeral Home, where services will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. Internment Union Cemetery.”



What is a Skeleton?

The word skeleton comes from the Greek word skeletos, meaning “dried up.” A skeleton is the framework of your body. It is made from over 200 bones! These bones are supported by ligaments, muscles, cartilage, and tendons. Your bones protect your organs, but sometimes they can brake and then you have to wear a cast until your bones have healed. Animals have skeletons, too.

"Bone"ified Facts

-Bones hold calcium and iron. Remember to drink your milk at dinner time!
-A newborn baby has 300 bones.
-An adult has about 206 bones.
-Bones stop growing when we are between 13 and 18 years old.
-The skeleton has five functions: provide shape, movement, protection, blood cell production, and mineral storage.
-Your bones are alive.
-The longest and heaviest bone is the femur.
-The smallest is the stapes bones in the middle ear.
-The skeleton of an adult is 20% of his weight.
-There are four types of bones: long, short, flat, and irregular.
-Over half of your bones are located in your arms and legs.
-Many of your bones are hollow.
-Bone marrow is in the center of your bones. Bone marrow makes new red and white blood cells for your body to distribute oxygen and keep you from getting sick
-The hyoid bones in the throat is the only bone in your body that does not touch another bone
-There are 14 bones in your face.
-Some facial bones contain hollow, air-filled spaces called sinuses. Sinuses lighten the skull, determine the sound of your voice, and moisturize and warm the air you breathe into your body.
-Without bones, we would not be able to walk or stand up! We would look like a big beanbag!


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