Pathology of the human inner ear has traditionally been studied in celloidin-embedded, hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections of the temporal bone. Although the traditional histologic approach has yielded valuable information, it is now possible to extend these studies to include analysis of molecules using immunohistochemical and histochemical staining techniques. Fourteen antibodies and 6 lectins have been applied to 420 archival, celloidin-embedded human temporal bone sections. Tissues had been fixed in 10% formalin, embedded in celloidin, sectioned, and stored for as many as 40 years. The staining intensities varied among sections, so they were ranked from 'no label" to "dense label." To investigate the relationships between the extent of postmortem changes (PMCs), storage time, and staining intensity for each antibody, the sections were graded according to their PMCs, which ranged from good preservation of the temporal bone histologic structure to severe postmortem autolysis. Although statistical analysis indicated that both extent of PMCs and storage time in general decrease the staining intensity, both poorly fixed tissue and sections stored for a long time can yield good immunostaining results with some antibodies.