Saturday, January 31, 2009

Abraham Lincoln Exhibit Coming up at NMHM, exhibit design by Navjeet Singh Chhina

Heres an early rendering of the exhibit. Kathleen took the photo of the the museum floor and I used that as a canvas to map the 3-d design to it, Its good to see what things look like at scale. I used photoshop, illustrator, Indesign, Vectorworks, and Cinema 4-d.

BTS on the new Lincoln exhibit

I've been able to get a few pictures of the in-progress Lincoln exhibit that will open next week at the museum.

This is the existing exhibit, one that's been on display long-term.

The new cases that have just been delivered, and the backdrop panels that will have different things displayed on them:

How the exhibit team plans what goes where, and will it fit:

Navjeet, our immensely creative Exhibits Specialist, moving one of the panels (this is just for show; he was actually critically eyeing the existing set-up from a chair out front, but that doesn't photograph so well):

Friday, January 30, 2009

Historical Collections staffing at the Museum

Alan, our longterm collections manager, is off doing something more exciting for a year. Any queries about historical artifacts like equipment, microscopes, scalpels, wax models and the like should go to Jim Curley who's acting in his stead. Curley can be reached at 202-782-2206 or

Long Tail idea, continued

I've gone on about this topic in the comments to Tim's post from earlier this week, but here's another example from the Smithsonian in today's Wash Post - "Going to Meet Its Public: Indian Museum Will Put Entire Collection Online," By Jacqueline Trescott, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, January 30, 2009; Page C01.

This Museum has a built-in lead - they were moved down to Washington recently (in Museum terms) and I'm sure they had excellent records and photos created at that time. When they set up the Museum, they decided to forego exhibit labels in the cases and instead provided a computer screen in front of the exhibit where you could look up what you were actually looking at (I despised this, because only 1 person at a time could look at an exhibit label and I didn't understand why they didn't just put that on the web back then).

So even with a running start, we read "The online project, part of the museum's regular Web site, will begin with 5,500 items and photographs. The goal is to have all 800,000 objects on the Web site, but it will take at least four years to achieve that. ... The museum has raised $750,000 for the first four years of the project, and Gover said a deadline has not been set for the Fourth Museum completion."

So that long tail takes a while to get long enough to trail off...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shhh, we had Flickr access today!

When I got to work this morning I had no network access at all. No email, no shared drives. When the network finally came up I checked out my (work-related, I swear) blogs on Google reader and actually saw pictures! Normally I just get text, and there was Mike's smiling face from Tuesday's post.
Hmmm, I thought. Could it be that we had access to other very bad things that we're normally blocked from? Is the suspense building for you like it was for me? In went and there it was. Wow. Like a second chance at life. Quick, now, before they glom on to the fact that I'm at a banned place, what can I post? Eight went up before I got back to real work, so take a look.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mike!

Anyone who's read the Annual Report for the Archives (raise your hand if you did; there's a prize for you) will know that 2009 marks Mike's 20th year at the museum. Today we had a mini celebration at the Collections meeting and caught Mike totally off guard. It was worth making those cakes from scratch (beat the butter for 3 minutes and 14 seconds, add 1/4 cup less 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time...) just to see the surprise on his face when he realized they were for him.

So, Mike, I won't say "And 20 more!!!" because I still have to work with you, but congratulations on the first 20 and hang in there for as long as you can.

P.S. That red thing on the cake is, as I said at the meeting, the closest thing Harris Teeter had to a superhero anything. It's a kind of nerf football with a copyright-violation Spiderman pattern to it.


For those in the "business" (a term that hardly describes the work that goes on in places like the museum), the late Gretchen Worden of the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia was the undisputed kahuna.
Gracious, mysterious, witty beyond mere mortals and a true force to be reckoned with, she was the Mutter.

The Mutter just unveiled her portrait. We can only hope to achieve the same in the afterlife.

[Mike here - it's a lithotrite for breaking bladder stones - aarggh! as Charlie Brown might say. Paul says that Chris Quigley has more info on her blog.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Long Tail, Museums, the Smithsonian, oh my...

There is simply too much awesomeness in this article in today's Washington Post about this past weekend's Smithsonian 2.0 event. Please, read it, and I imagine that for curators working in today's environment, the quote from Anderson in the eleventh paragraph from the end, well, that might prove to be the fodder for watercooler talk, eh? I don't think I agree with Anderson, though. There will always be a place for the expert, especially in museums.

Here's one paragraph though, referring to Wired magazine's Chris Anderson:
"That would be Wired's Anderson. His "long tail" hypothesis has revolutionized how Web entrepreneurs think about their businesses. The basic idea, he explained at the event, was that in the Industrial Age, sales of anything were limited by shelf space. The result was the elevation of a priesthood of curators, editors and gatekeepers whose job it was to try to winnow through everything and offer up what they thought might be the best of the best -- or at least the most likely to sell to the most people. The Web has changed all that..."
I am a huge fan of The Long Tail. Like Good to Great by Jim Collins, it's the sort of book that offers a seachange in how you could consider approaching your work on a daily basis. I think about the long tail all the time in my work in communications. Both books, and their authors, are worth checking out if you've not had a chance to follow these movements (that's what they are, if you think about it) yet.

Now, go read. And let us know if you are reading something interesting!

Coming up at NMHM in Jan, Feb, and Mar

(Updated with an actual title. Sorry about that...)

Coming up at NMHM in the next few months:

How can you stay on top of the latest news and events?
  1. Visit our Events page often.
  2. Subscribe to our print newsletter Flesh & Bones or request a subscription to our new-ish monthly e-newsletter.
  3. Subscribe to this blog (Feedburner offers those options, see the right-side of the blog.)
Hope that helps! See you at the Museum!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Museum on Facebook

As Andrea mentioned in the previous post, the Museum now has a Facebook Page and you are invited to join.

I've been on Facebook for some time and its been an interesting experience, maybe better described as a learning experience. As we've thought of additional ways to promote the Museum in this new year, Facebook and other social media platforms always come up. I've done some reading on this - it's not hard to find critical, constructive thinking about the use of social media in museums - and as we explore the medium further, and even explore other platforms possibly in the future, I'll link more often to others who are talking and thinking about these issues.

Dozens, maybe hundreds, of museums (including heavyweights like the Brooklyn Museum of Art and cousins of ours like at the Navy Museum here in DC) have taken to Facebook in recent months in order to engage with the audience that the platform offers. If the research is accurate, there are potential segments of our core audiences that are best reached through platforms like Facebook. These are audiences who don't necessarily subscribe to e-newsletters or respond to appeals through traditional print advertising campaigns. It's not fair to generalize these audiences as simply 'young people' and move on: Facebook audiences do cross generational divides especially as the services grow in popularity. The number of baby-boomer moms joining FB is growing, I think, so that those moms can communicate with their children living in faraway states. (That's just one example I've seen on several occasions with my own circle of FB friends in recent months.)

So, here we are. It's likely we'll make a few missteps as we get used to how to use the Page and its features. But I remain convinced that this is a great direction for us. I hope you will join us.

The page, for now, includes links to two of our newest exhibits, as well as links to the Museum's five major collections. You will see that we take advantage of a Flickr badge to show off the latest images from the Archives' most recent Flickr uploads. And we'll promote new programs there, too, as well as news and notes from around the Museum.

Hopefully this link works: NMHM on Facebook. Obviously, you need to join Facebook to get the full picture. Let me know if that link fails. If you are already on Facebook, simply search for the Museum and look for the official page. Click the button to become a fan and let us know what you think.

It's a work in progress, which will have to be worked on away from work since social media sites like Facebook are blocked at the office. That doesn't diminish our enthusiasm for the project, though.

See you on Facebook.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

NMHM Facebook page

The Museum has a new Facebook page. Search for National Museum of Health and Medicine and become a fan!

Friday, January 23, 2009

White House Physician Talk Set for 2/4/09

Thanks, Suture for a Living, for the link to our upcoming 'Health, Illness and the Presidency' program on Feb. 4th. I'm looking forward to this talk and we're hoping that it's well attended. The speaker worked as White House Physician for three presidents and was at Walter Reed, and we're glad Dr. Mohr was interested in talking about his experiences at the Museum. Are you planning on attending? Let us know in comments! See you there.

Ghoulish ride

Ghoulish ride
Originally uploaded by rasputina2
Another one. I can't contain myself.


Originally uploaded by rasputina2
I just might ride again if I could have a bike like this.

New malaria book by one of our researchers

One of our researchers, Leo B. Slater, just let us know that his book has been published. That's our photo on the cover, which has been cropped a bit and edited a bit more, and here it is, full size, from one of our Flickr accounts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

National Museum of Health & Medicine is CLOSED TODAY

The National Museum of Health & Medicine is CLOSED TODAY because the Walter Reed Center is shut for the Inauguration.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Otis Historical Archives Annual Report part 4 and final

Rhode served on the AFIP's Institutional Review Board and HIPPA committees as well as Museum committees including the Admin group, the collections committee (as did Stocker), and the database committee (as did Stocker). Volunteering to do so, Stocker photographed parts of collections for use in the museum’s newsletter, for exhibit production, and for uploading to the Internet Archive, and has photographed both in-progress and completed exhibits. Montgomery and Strigel worked on a brochure on the museum’s photographs and IMC’s role in scanning them, which is still in draft form.

Gaskins retired in September. He had been part of the Museum staff since 2004, but he was a mainstay of AFIP for years longer than that. He had been with the Institute for seventeen years, joining it from the Federal Records Center in Suitland. Gaskins singlehandedly ran the fifty-year old Medical Illustration Service Library of 3,000 boxes of hundreds of thousands of photographs. The library was the Department of Defense's official medical photograph repository from 1949 on into the 1990s and he inherited all of the responsibility for the Library as staff left and were not replaced. Gaskin's sense of duty and responsibility preserved the Library, through at least two moves, and in spite of disinterest or worse on the part of some. Gaskins joined the Archives due to the Information Manufacturing Corporation scanning project. The initial plan was to do a low-resolution scan of the Library’s photographs and then discard the originals. Fortunately we were able to modify that plan and add the collection to the Museum. Gaskins was an integral part of making possible hundreds of thousands of scans. His knowledge of the collection and willingness to share it has been the only thing that enabled us to make sense of the staggering amount of pictures. Without Tom, the project would not have gotten off the ground. He also worked in the Archives and scanned all of our Civil War photographs. Lauren Clark volunteered in the archives over the summer to see if she was interested in a museum career. She rehoused parts of the Vorwald Collection and added folder headings to the finding aid, as well doing cataloguing and filing trade literature in the GMPI Collection.

Research and historical material, mostly on military medicine, was provided to AFIP, especially the Public Affairs Office and the Departments of Dermatologic Pathology, Telemedicine, Radiologic Pathology, and Soft Tissue Pathology among others. External users included US Army Office of the Surgeon General; US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; OTSG’s Borden Institute; Bay Pines Veterans Administration Healthcare System; Home Front Communications; Samuel Merritt College (California); Columbia University; US Patent and Trademark Office; The Scientist Magazine; TRICARE Management Activity; Fort Lee (Virginia); Kunhardt Productions; USUHS; Ambo|Anthos Publishers (The Netherlands); Baker-Cederberg Museum and Archives (New York); Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen; George Washington University Law School; National Inventors Hall of Fame (Ohio); Command Surgeon, USSOCOM; NCI Communications; The Burns Archive; Canadian Broadcasting Corp.; Boston University; Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology (Illinois); Henry Holt Publishers; Actuality Productions, Inc.; Fuji Television Network, Inc. (Japan); Fairfax County Public Library; Taniwaki & Associates, Inc. (Washington, DC); Oxford Film & Television (England); National Museum of American History; US Army Historian’s Office; Los Angeles Daily News; Historian’s Office, Walter Reed Army Medical Center; The Many-Headed Monster, Live Art Development Agency (England); American Red Cross; National Library and Archives Canada; St Paul's Cemetery; Esras Managing; Steptoe and Johnson LLP (Washington, DC); Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health; National Geographic; ColourFIELD (Germany); Wisconsin Historical Society; Aslan Productions; Tucson Medical Center; NARA; Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd (Singapore); North Carolina Museum of History; James F. Humphries & Assoc. (West Virginia); Rice University; National Building Museum; University of Michigan; Gettysburg National Military Park; Sovereign Pharmaceuticals; Communications Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (New Zealand); Health Protection Agency, United Kingdom; Compass Point Books; Public Affairs and Content Development, Armed Services Blood Program; CBS Eye Too Productions / Discovery Channel; Mind & Media; Phoenix Controls (Massachusetts); Foundation El Portavoz (Costa Rica); Indiana University; Hiroshima Peace Institute (Japan); Victorian Society at Falls Church; AOTF American Occupational Therapy Foundation; Weider History Group, Inc.; Synvasive Technology, Inc.; Journal AnBlokk (Hungary); International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR); Visual Eyes, Inc.; South Windsor Historical Society and Wood Memorial Library; PMA Sciences (Canada); Turn of the Century Electrotherapy Museum (Florida); St. John's Riverside Hospital,/Cochran School of Nursing (New York); University of California – Irvine; Shawnee town, City of Shawnee, Kansas; University of Missouri – Columbia; Veterans Administration Medical Center (Wisconsin); Twofour Digital Ltd. (England); Design Minds, Inc; University of Alberta; University of Manchester; University of Toyama (Japan); Army Historical Foundation; Oxford University; NBM; AUDLM; and the University of Newcastle.

Sharing historical photographs

Boy, those Otis Historical Archives annual report segments are riveting, aren't they? But they're all about attempting to get information out to you, our interested constituency. Here's a good article about the Flickr Commons site, which we may still join, and mentions Wikipedia's Commons site that we'll be looking into now -

Link by Link
Historical Photos in Web Archives Gain Vivid New Lives

Published: January 19, 2009
Over the last year there have been important new efforts to put these classics online.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Otis Historical Archives Annual Report part 3

The Archives has a significant presence on the Internet including the Guide to the Collections of the Museum on the museum website which remains the main way researchers begin to use the archives. Stocker has revamped the Guide for the first time since 1998 and has it almost ready to go on the web. Several finding aids were added to the website. Finding aids for the Townsend Collection of aviation pathology records, the Donald Collection of World War 2 hospital ship material, the NMHM Audiovisual Collection, and the General Medical Products Information Collection (GMPI) were loaded onto the Museum’s website. Stocker has reformatted, added material, and edited the Ball Collection of ophthalmologic materials, and it is almost ready to be added to the website. No more archival collections were listed in the Library of Congress' National Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC); however, finding aids should still be sent to NUCMC in the future for the different audiences it reaches.

In fall 2006, archives staff began adding interesting photographs to Flickr’s website. By late January 2008, approximately 400 photographs had gotten 48,000 views; in January 2009, 683 images had received 107,526 views, an increase of about 155%. This clearly demonstrates the appeal of the photographs held in the Archives; however, WRAMC now blocks access to Flickr so any additional photographs are added by staff from home. The Archives also received an invitation to join the Flickr Commons, a site for displaying the public photo collections of cultural institutions, which would increase viewership into the millions, but this has been waiting Legal Counsel’s review for several months. In the spring, Rhode began A Repository for Bottled Monsters, an unofficial blog for the museum, which has also attracted a worldwide audience. Because WRAMC blocks access to the blog, all posts to it are added by staff from home in their own time.

Books and documents scanned by IMC were uploaded to the free Internet Archive, where they are available for downloading. Titles uploaded included The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology - Its First Century 1862-1962 (1962); A History of the United States Army Medical Museum 1862 to 1917 compiled from the Official Records (1917) by Daniel S. Lamb; the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (six volumes, 1870-1888); the Medical Department of the US Army in the World War (15 volumes, 1923-1929); "The Annual" (Nursing Yearbook) from Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, DC, and Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, California (1921-1927); “Taps" Annual (Nursing Yearbook) from Walter Reed General Hospital (1929-1931); An Illustrated Description of First-Class Achromatic Microscopes, Apparatus, Specimens, etc., Miller Brothers (1879); A Catalogue of Surgeons' Instruments, Air and Water Beds, Pillows, and Cushions, Bandages, Trusses, Elastic Stockings, Inhalers, Galvanic Apparatus, and Other Appliances Used by the Medical Profession, Maw and Sons (1866); A Medical Survey of the Bituminous-Coal Industry (1947); The Kennedy Autopsy Report by Pierre Finck of the AFIP; Cantor Lectures: The Microscope (1888) - lectures on the history of the microscope by British collector John Mayall, Jr. excerpted from the Journal of the Society of the Arts, 1885-1888; Decorations and Medals of the United States of America (1943), John Wyeth and Brother broadsheet; Frances Pleasants' photograph album from the Civil War; When You Go Home - take this book with you - a WWI pamphlet directed at US troops about the dangers of venereal disease; Nouveau Appareils a L'usage des Medecins et des Chirurgiens - M.G. Trouvé Medical and surgical instruments from the M.G. Trouvé company, 1872, excerpted from Les Mondes, May 9 and 16, 1872; Nouveau Appareils a L'usage des Medecins et des Chirurgiens - M.G. Trouvé Medical/surgical instruments from the M.G. Trouvé company, Paris, excerpted from Les Mondes, July 15, 1869; Phase Contrast Equipment with the Heine Condenser microscope instruction manual; Instructor's Guide for Casualty Simulation Kit Device, a handbook for casualty simulation in disasters; The Graf-Apsco Company, 1943 catalog: a catalog of microscopes, dissecting instruments, and related medical and laboratory equipment; The Graf-Apsco Company 1946 catalog: a catalog of microscopes, dissecting instruments, and related medical and laboratory equipment; Kolff-Brigham Artificial Kidney (ca. 1950s) manual; Variable Axis Total Knee Surgical Techniques (ca. 1977) advertising booklets; Gillette Receipts (187?): a handwritten "receipt" (recipe) book from the late 19th century, of mostly pharmaceutical remedies, including those for asthma, cough, gangrene, "the itch," cholera, and bilious colic, but also for lucifer matches and liquid blacking.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Anatomy of the Orbit

Two more illustrations from the Ball Collection, from Agatz's "Atlas zur chirurgischen Anatomie und Operationslehre," 1860. These are real beauties when viewed in a larger size.

Acc. 18938

And Acc. 18938-2

Otis Historical Archives Annual Report part 2

The Medical Illustration Service Library, through the IMC scanning project, continues to be digitized. Rhode is the Task Order Manager for the MIS part of the project; he and the assistant archivists and technicians selected material for scanning, reviewed the material, and recommended accepting the work on behalf of the government. Stocker provides the quality control. The members of the IMC team are processing and cataloging the images prior to scanning so the records of the images are complete upon their return. 350,000 images were scanned last year, and cataloguing and indexing are being finished. Collections scanned or added to the online system last year included the World War 1-Reeve Collection, Surgical Photographs, the Museum’s 19th century collections logbooks, captured Viet Cong medical journals, accession files for the Orthopathology collection, and HDAC’s Carnegie collection records. AFIP’s Veterinary Pathology Dept. 35mm teaching slide set was scanned, and added to the MIS Library as an electronic collection. 220,000 images are anticipated for this year including finishing 10,000 military medicine photographs newly added to the New Contributed Photographs collection and scanning the Museum’s Accession Files as well as images of WRAMC from their DPW department and historical images from the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Stocker identified an additional 1300 images from the WWII-era MAMAS collection, then catalogued and sent them to IMC for scanning. All roughly 500,000 photographs are searchable on the AFIP’s AWARS system to anyone who has registered to use the system.

Computerized cataloguing on the collection level has continued in the shelf inventory. Cataloguing of new material coming into the museum was done for the General Medical Products Information Collection, Medical Ephemera, New Contributed photographs, Audiovisual Collection, AFIP Historical Files, WRAMC Historical Collection and other artificial collections. Implementation of a comprehensive computer catalogue for the entire Museum continued with data from the archives being turned over to KE Software for conversion to their EMU database, although this project was slowed due to financial issues. Uploading of Archives data was finally resumed in the fall and has been tested three times. It is expected to be usable this spring. After all five collection divisions are included this spring, data from IMC’s database will be imported in the summer and an extensive single database of the Museum’s holdings should be available in the fall for widespread use.

New material acquired included a daguerreotype by William Bell depicting a man with drooping eyelid, ca. 1852, purchased through the generosity of Frederick Sharf, 5 Army School of Nursing yearbooks including Taps 1929, 1930, 1931 and The Annual 1926, 1927 from the US Army Medical Department Museum, a box of lantern slides and box of patient records associated with WWII service of neurologist Dr. Augustus McCravey, 11 boxes of research files from amputee service at Valley Forge General Hospital in Phoenixville, PA from the Vietnam War era, a framed Plexiglas print of synthetic estrogen molecule "Moxestrol" by Mara Haseltine, digital photographs from the book War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq from the Borden Institute, 6 linear feet of files related to AFIP radiologist Colonel William L. Thompson, circa 1907-1975 from the American College of Radiology, approximately 48 thousand 35-mm slides of gross veterinary pathology and 11 veterinary tools from Dr. John King, 1 linear feet of records of Dr. John (Henry) Budd of WWII service with 34th Evacuation Hospital, 4th Auxiliary Surgery Group on neurosurgery, items associated with the practice of Dr. Alexander N. Letko including one prescription pad for narcotics (1948) and a folder of papers and letters, dental lecture videotapes from the U.S. Army Dental & Trauma Research Detachment, one empty dressing packet for "Bontecou's Soldier's Packet for first Wound Dressing” and 21 books on medical photography authored by Dr. Stanley Burns from Dr. Burns, a copy of a dissertation on leprosy "Letters from Carville: Narrating the Unspoken Story of the Landry Family," (2007) and miscellaneous books.

Medical collection articles in University Museums and Collections Journal 1/2008

Our colleagues at the Medical Museion blog pointed out the first issue of University Museums and Collections Journal 1/2008 which has articles on medical collections in Vienna including a survey article and short specific pieces on drug and pharmaceutical collections (the drug link is broken as of this writing).

What the field needs now is an in-depth volume on the history of medical museums around the world.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Four more from the Ball Collection

I was able to get back to Ball today and had to scan these when I found them.

Acc 19322
Sarcoma of the iris and
Syphilitic iritis

Acc 19321
Marginal eczema pustule and
Epithelioma involving both the cornea and conjunctiva

Acc 19320
Spring conjunctivitis

Acc 19319
Recent scleritis

Exploring War and Conflict Through Oral History CFP

Call for Papers
Exploring War and Conflict Through Oral History

Date: 1 May 2009
Location: The Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Sponsors: OHMAR (Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region)
Veterans History Project, American Folk Life Center, Library of Congress

War and conflict have been a formative part of United States history during the twentieth century, a trend that has continued into the new millennium. Since World War II, oral history has become a progressively more valuable tool in exploring the causes of war; the fierce national and international debate over the efficacy of waging war; the experiences of the combatants and civilians caught up in the conflict; and the social, political, and economic consequences of war. Drawing on this rich history, OHMAR and the Veterans History Project are soliciting papers for a conference that explores war and conflict through the use of oral history.

The program committee is seeking proposals for individual papers or complete panels that focus on the use of oral history in documenting the impact of war and conflict on world history during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Proposals for individual papers should be based on a twenty-minute presentation; complete panels should incorporate three papers within a panel lasting ninety minutes.

Proposal Format

For individual proposals, submit a one-page abstract, a one-page vita or resume, and a short (100 words or less) presenter bio. If proposing a three-person panel, submit a title, a session abstract of not more than two pages, and a one-page vita or resume and short bio for each participant.

Proposals should be postmarked or emailed by 15 February 2009. We prefer that proposals be sent by email. Email the cover sheet and proposal below as one complete electronic document in Microsoft Word to The program committee will acknowledge the receipt of incoming proposals as they are received. If you have questions, email or contact John Lonnquest, program committee chair, at 703-428-6563. Applicants will be notified by 1 March 2009 if their proposals are accepted.

Technical Support

All of the conference facilities will be equipped with computers and LCD projectors. As part of their proposals, presenters should indicate their audio and visual support requirements. Please be as specific as possible so the program committee can properly evaluate the resources required. Please contact the conference program committee at if you have any questions.

Cover Sheet
Exploring War and Conflict Through Oral History
Library of Congress
1 May 2009
Hard copy proposals should include five copies each of the cover sheet, panel proposal (if applicable), individual proposals, bios and individual resumes. We prefer emailed proposals. Be sure to read the Call For Papers to ensure you have met all requirements. Please type or print clearly.
Panel or Paper Title: ________________________________________________

AV and space needs: ( ) VHS player/monitor ( ) DVD player/monitor ( ) LCD projector
Other (describe thoroughly): ______________________________________________________

AV requests must be indicated at this time. Please check with your panel members before submitting your proposal.
Panel organizer or paper presenter's name: __________________________________
E-mail: _____________________________ Affiliation ________________________________
Complete Mailing Address: _______________________________________________________
City: _______________ State: ________ ZIP Code________ Country: _________
Work phone: ________________ Home phone: ________________ FAX:____________
If proposing a panel, please provide the following information as well.
Chair's Name: ________________________________________________________
First MI Last
E-mail: __________________________ Affiliation: __________________________________
Complete Mailing Address: _______________________________________________________
City: ______________ State: _______ ZIP Code: _______ Country: ___________
Work phone: _______________ Home phone: ________________ FAX: ___________

Commentator (if desired):____________________________________________
First MI Last
E-mail: ____________________________ Affiliation: ___________________________
Complete Mailing Address: _______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
City: ______________ State: _______ ZIP Code: _______ Country: __________
Work phone: _______________ Home phone: ________________ FAX: ____________

Panelist: ____________________________________________________________
First MI Last
Paper Title: _________________________________________________________________
E-mail: ___________________________ Affiliation: ____________________________
Complete Mailing Address: _______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
City: ______________ State: _______ ZIP Code: _______ Country: ____________
Work phone: _______________ Home phone: ________________ FAX: ____________

Panelist: ____________________________________________________________
First MI Last
Paper Title: __________________________________________________________________
E-mail: ____________________________ Affiliation: _________________________________
Complete Mailing Address: _______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
City: ______________ State: _______ ZIP Code: _______ Country: ___________
Work phone: _______________ Home phone: ________________ FAX: ____________

Panelist: ____________________________________________________________
First MI Last
Paper Title: ____________________________________________________________________
E-mail: ______________________________Affiliation:________________________________
Complete Mailing Address: _______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
City: ______________ State: _______ ZIP Code: _______ Country: ___________
Work phone: ______________ Home phone: ________________ FAX: _________________
Proposal packages should be emailed to:
Written proposals should be mailed to:
John Lonnquest
US Army Corps of Engineers
Office of History
7701 Telegraph Road
Alexandria, VA 22315
Cover sheet and proposals must be postmarked or emailed by February 15, 2009

Otis Historical Archives Annual Report part 1


STAFF (A-Arrive; D-Depart):
Michael Rhode, Chief Archivist
Kathleen Stocker, Assistant Archivist
(D) Thomas Gaskins, Archives Technician
Donna Rose, IMC Supervisor Archivist
(D) Kirsten Strigel, IMC Contract Archivist
Amanda Montgomery, IMC Contract Archivist
LaFonda Burwell, IMC Contract Archives Technician
(A) Karen West, IMC Contract Archives Technician
(A) Anna Korosec, IMC Contract Archives Technician
(D)Shanika Queen, IMC Contract Archives Technician
(D) Natasha Lyles, IMC Contract Archives Technician
(A/D) Lauren Clark, student volunteer

January 2009 marks Rhode’s twentieth year as the Museum’s archivist. In that time the Archives has grown immensely and has been far better catalogued. A 1988 guide to archives listed it as having 200 linear feet of collections, but that number is in the thousands now. Users and researchers have increased tremendously as well, as have the ways the collection is used. In 1989, there was one computer, with one database of a few photographs on its 24-megabyte hard drive; in 2009, the Archives is approaching one terabyte of digitized information. Photographs are no longer sent to a photography department for reproduction with a lag of months, but are scanned and sent to the requestor almost immediately. However, some once-common media such as ¾” videotape fill the Archives, but are now impossible for us to access. Technology has changed the way we do business and will continue to do so at an increasing pace, but we hope to continue adding to the collection and making the medical history of America available to our constituency.

Substantial requests for information were handled, frequently regarding sensitive topics. Of the requests that we tracked, we had at least 183 substantial reference requests this year, including 93 from people representing institutions and 9 countries outside the US. The museum’s photography collections received notice from the fine arts world: the Smithsonian American Art Museum borrowed eight of William Bell’s Civil War photographs of soldiers for an exhibit, the Metropolitan Museum of Art called for help in cataloguing their copies, and in January 2009 the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston began reviewing photographs for a loan. The Vorwald Collection continues to be used for research for asbestosis lawsuits in spite of being open to the public for two decades. Interest in the 1918 influenza epidemic has not yet peaked, and many requests were received to use images from the Archives, all of which are viewable on the website to facilitate research. Rhode was interviewed by Bill Koslosky for “The National Museum of Health & Medicine: archival images on Flickr,” was an invited participant for the “Archival Research” panel of the Graduate Student Symposium for historians of medicine at the National Library of Medicine, and spoke on “Genealogical Possibilities in the National Museum of Health and Medicine,” for the National Capital Region of Association of Professional Genealogists at the National Archives. Rhode wrote “Book Review: Rehabilitating Bodies: Health, History and the American Civil War by Lisa A. Long,” for the Journal of Southern History; “Foundations: E.R. Squibb, 1854,” and “Foundations: Photomicroscopy, circa 1876,” for The Scientist. He submitted a paper on the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion for publication in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, and is currently implementing reviewer comments on it. Rhode has had a paper on the Museum in World War I accepted for the American Association of the History of Medicine’s annual meeting in April. Tours were given to National History Day students (June), the DC Public Health Department (June) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, aka MARAC (November).

Stocker and Rhode have been assisting the Borden Institute with a photographic history of WRAMC for the 2009 anniversary. In addition to providing scans of photographs of the base and personnel, they are also writing captions while contributing to the layout and editing of the publication. The book should appear in the spring, and features many photographs from the Archives.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Save the Date 4/18-19/2009: Symposium on Lincoln's Health at National Museum of Health and Medicine


To commemorate the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Birth, the National Museum of Health and Medicine Presents “A Symposium on President Lincoln’s Health”

**Endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission**

Saturday, April 18, 2009, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

* Ronald S. Fishman, M.D. and Adriana Da Silveira, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., Lincoln’s Craniofacial Microsmia

* Laura P. W. Ranum, Ph.D., Molecular Genetics with an Historical Twist: Spectrin Mutation Causes Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 5 in President Lincoln’s Pedigree

* Todd J. Janus, Ph.D., M.D. The Neurologic Death of Abraham Lincoln

* Thomas M. Scalea, M.D., Could Lincoln Have Been Saved?

6:30 p.m.: Keynote Address by Frank J. Williams, noted Lincoln scholar and former chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court

Sunday, April 19, 2009, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

* Adrianne Noe, Ph.D., The Lincoln Exhibit at the National Museum of Health and Medicine

* Thomas M. Scalea, M.D. and Todd J. Janus, Ph.D., M.D., The Neurologic Death and Possible Rescue of Abraham Lincoln

* Kenneth Leetz, M.D., Abraham Lincoln, Psychotherapist to the Nation: Lincoln’s Depression and Its Transformative Effects on Empathy and Therapeutic Communication Through Metaphors

* Armond S. Goldman, M.D., Lincoln’s Gettysburg Illness

**Speakers, topics and schedule subject to change.

SYMPOSIUM IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. LIMITED SEATING—RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED! For more information and reservations, call (202) 782-2673 or email


NMHM is proud to announce an upcoming exhibit, "Abraham Lincoln: Final Casualty of the War" (opens February 12, 2009), featuring artifacts related to the assassination of President Lincoln, including the bullet that killed the president.


* NMHM news release:

* Details about the Lincoln Symposium:

* NMHM Lincoln artifacts:

* Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission:

* Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Washington, D.C.:


National Museum of Health and Medicine
On the campus at Walter Reed Army Medical Center 6900 Georgia Ave., N.W. (enter at Elder Street)
Washington, D.C. 20307

Free Parking – Free Admission

NMHM is open daily (exc. Dec. 25 and Jan. 20) 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

"Health, Illness and the Presidency" Lecture with former White House Physician, 2/4/2009 at NMHM

National Museum of Health and Medicine
Walter Reed Centennial Year Lecture Series
Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

"Health, Illness and the Presidency"

Join NMHM as we celebrate the centennial year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Lawrence C. Mohr, Jr., MD will discuss his experiences as White House Physician to three presidents – Reagan, Bush and Clinton – and his career at Walter Reed.

Where: Russell Auditorium, National Museum of Health and Medicine (AFIP, Bldg. 54) , on the campus at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (further location details are below)

Cost: Free

NOTE: The next major public program offering from the National Museum of Health and Medicine will be “Sex, Sin, and Science: A History of Syphilis in America,” Saturday, February 14, 2009, 11:00 a.m. Did syphilis travel from the New World to Europe on Columbus’ ships? What remedies did Lewis and Clark use to treat the disease on their expedition? What impact did the introduction of penicillin have on the spread of venereal disease? Join NMHM for this Valentine’s Day talk with noted medical historian John Parascandola as he discusses his book, "Sex, Sin, and Science: A History of Syphilis in America." A book signing will follow the presentation. Cost: Free


National Museum of Health and Medicine
On the campus at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Ave., N.W. (enter at Elder Street)
Washington, D.C. 20307

Free Parking – Free Admission

NMHM is open daily (exc. Dec. 25 and Jan. 20) 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Phone: (202) 782-2200
Public Affairs: (202) 782-2672
Public Programs: (202) 782-2673

Medical Museum CLOSED on Inauguration Day, January 20th

The Medical Museum is CLOSED on Inauguration Day, January 20th, because all of Walter Reed Medical Center is closed.

AFIP Recognized by U.S. and Canadian Academy of Pathology

This showed up at work yesterday. USCAP grew out of the International Association of Medical Museums that the Army Medical Museum helped to found. AFIP is slated to be closed by 2011 due to BRAC, and replaced with a Joint Pathology Center, which is still undefined.

The United States-Canadian Division of The International Academy of Pathology

Executive Vice President
January 6, 2009

Dr. Florabel Garcia Mullick
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
FROM: Fred Silva, M .D .
Executive Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer

USCAP Scientific Abstracts from your Institution

According to our records, this year your institution was in the top twenty in number of first authored scientific abstracts accepted for presentation at the USCAP 2009 Annual Meeting in Boston. There was an all time record of almost 2,800 scientific abstracts submitted from over 430 different medical school programs and academic institutions (over 230 in the US and Canada and 200 from around the rest of the world) . This represented the highest ever percentage increase (16%) over the previous record year . All abstracts are subject to blinded peer review, and the cutoff score was quite high . Well over 3,000 pathologists are expected to attend the 2009 meeting where the accepted scientific abstracts will be presented . These scientific offerings are also published in the January issues of both of our Academy's journals, two of the "top five general pathology journals" by impact factor in the world - Modern Pathology and Laboratory Investigation -which reach well
over 10,000 subscribers, both individuals as well as institutions throughout the world . As you know we have partnered with the most outstanding medical publisher in the world-Nature Publishing Group (NPG). These journals are also online with NPG with its 60,000 monthly eTOC subscribers and on our international USCAP Website (the latter of which now receives up to five million hits/month internationally from up to 22,000 individual pathologists/month from 129 countries) . The USCAP,which is one of the oldest pathology societies in North America, is generally viewed as the premier academic society of anatomic, surgical pathology, and diagnostic molecular pathology and the attendance at our annual meeting is the largest gathering of physician-pathologists in the world by far. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the future of pathology and medicine and all those patients, physicians and students we serve. It is obvious that your institution has worked hard to support and generate these important studies which will help advance the specialty of pathology as well as medicine in general. On behalf of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology I want to extend our congratulations to you and express my personal appreciation for all that you and your faculty have done to enhance the scientific program of our Academy and our discipline.

A simple checklist

The Washington Post reports on an article published in today's New England Journal of Medicine that says verbal checklists used before, during, and after surgery can cut death rates “by nearly half, to 0.8 percent from 1.5 percent, and other complications falling to 7 percent from 11 percent.” This reminded me of an article we read a while ago about how a checklist used at Johns Hopkins for patients with I.V. lines dramatically cut infection rates. Of course there are those who are skeptical of the recent study with all the “yeah, but” comments, but what does it cost, how much effort does it take, and where is the harm in running through a checklist? If it was me under the knife, my choice would be to checklist away.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Emu editing complete; WRAMC book editing not quite

Kathleen and I got through editing the archives data for our new online Emu database today. At some point in 2009, all five collection divisions should be included and anyone will be able to search our data. We've been striving for this for years now.

Tomorrow, we'll be back to working on a photo history of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The book, which will be from the Borden Institute, will cover 100 years of the campus in photographs. More information to come in the future.

And we'll be writing the Archives annual report this week too. You'll see it here when we finish it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Technology changing healthcare articles

One on the problems of epidemiology in the cell phone age - "Cellphones' Growth Does a Number on Health Research," By David Brown, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, January 12, 2009; Page A04.

And one on rethinking care in the ICU - "A Tactic to Cut I.C.U. Trauma: Get Patients Up," By GINA KOLATA, New York Times January 12, 2009. Doctors are experimenting with radical solutions to ward off the effects of prolonged stays in intensive care units. This article talks about several debilitating effects including that of sedation, which I can believe. Recent dental anesthesia, which was really very mild, really messed with my mind.

A Day in the Life

Wow, what a day.

First thing this morning I finished scanning hi-res versions of flu images from the 1918 and 1957 outbreaks for a request from someone at the UN. This is a big time of year for flu photo requests. We have a folder called “Flu” that held a mix of tiffs and jpegs but not all jpegs had corresponding tiffs; hence the scanning. I burned 5 copies of the disc so the next time we won’t be scrambling to put one together (seems like something we should have done long ago, but noooo), and then FedExed the patron’s copy.

When Mike came in he and I went over what documentation is still needed for images that are being used in the 100th anniversary of Walter Reed book, and what images are needed in higher resolution. I had to use a tiny laptop computer that’s not on the network to access our external drives, where 99% of our images are, in order to look for that information. As we’ve mentioned before, the USB drives on our networked computers no longer function, so we have to go through these gyrations to get work done. Even if our external drives could still be used on the networked computers, we’re blocked from file-sharing sites, a great service I’ve used in the past to upload images. So once I finish looking those things up I’ll have to burn whatever I come up with to a disc to give to the guy doing the layout.

The Anatomical Collections manager came into the archives with a folder of negatives of the first documented military aircraft fatality, in 1908. He wanted to scan them and doesn’t have a working scanner, so we got him going on an ancient scanner and computer. I’ll get some of those images posted here, but not today.

Andrea came into the archives to measure artifacts that will be used in the Lincoln exhibit going up next month. She needs the measurements to plan the exhibit case layouts.

The museum director said there is a book in the works about the AFIP. We will likely be called on to find photos and documents for the person putting it together.

I emailed one of the archivists at Catholic University in DC to let her know that we wouldn’t be bringing them some clippings we promised them until the week after the inauguration. If you don’t live in this area, you wouldn’t believe how packed the roads are predicted to be; that is, those roads that are being allowed to stay open. I think my commute through town, and Mike’s similar commute, will be all the inauguration traffic we’ll be able to take. Come to think of it, we live here and can’t believe what’s happening to the roads, like a ban on “personal vehicles from all Potomac River bridge crossings from Virginia into the District and from interstates 395 and 66 inside the Capital Beltway on Inauguration Day.” Off-topic, but this is our life.

Mike returned from a meeting with a request from someone in the AFIP’s legal office who wanted information on the history of AFIP, so I headed to a different part of the building to pull files for her. On the way I met Andrea who asked for a scan of an oversized image of Ford’s Theater. My large-format scanner hasn’t arrived yet so I’ll either have to take it to another office where there is one, or scan it at my desk and stitch it together in Photoshop, which I’m not at all good at. That request is still percolating.

After lunch Mike and I started another run-through of the data that’s been uploaded into this new relational database the museum is converting to. We both really, really, really hate this job. We work from a print-out that’s organized by collection, and then by field, to check that the data has mapped from our old database into the correct fields in the new one. This process has been done probably 6 times and the notes for each run-through are in a different color. We’re running out of pen colors. Today one of the modules kept freezing. Grrr. We did that as long as we could stand it.

Jim from Historical Collections came in trying to match an image of an artificial kidney to the one we have on display, for a researcher request he’s gotten. We pulled the original picture to take to the exhibit floor to make the comparison. It’s not the same machine. Very similar but not quite. Here's a photo, different from what Jim was looking at, to show you this machine.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

User-correcting eyeglasses and your own personal genome

A couple of interesting medical technology pieces from the newspapers:

My Genome, My Self
New York Times Magazine January 11, 2009
In the coming era of consumer genetics, your DNA will have much to tell you about the biological bases of your health, your physique and even your personality. But will this knowledge really amount to self-knowledge?

From a Visionary English Physicist, Self-Adjusting Lenses for the Poor
By Mary Jordan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, January 10, 2009; Page A08
Joshua Silver models a pair of the self-adjusting glasses he developed for the poor. The glasses work on the principle that the more liquid pumped into a thin sac in the plastic lenses, the stronger the correction.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Brains on our minds

One of us came across this great blog post today "100 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About The Human Brain." Check that out.  We know a few things about brains at the Museum

Earlier today, we were oh-so-close to having the brain and spinal cord on display (part of the Blackburn collection, in the Human Body exhibit) featured on Brazilian TV. In the end, they chose a different background for the brief intro they were filming in the Museum. It's always fun (read that with a tinge of sarcasm) having film crews in for one purpose or another. But I do appreciate the brevity that news film crews bring to their work: quick, to the point, get it right the first time.  The stories I could tell about documentary film crews, though...

One cool trick that the on-air reporter employed today: he recorded his script into a handheld digital audio recorder, then had that running into his ear via a very small earpiece, similar to an IFB system more often seen on newsroom sets. So, his delivery was umimpeded by looking down into a script, and he was able to focus on the camera.  He said it was an old radio trick; I put it into the 'you learn something new each day' category.

Soldier's remains still surface at Antietam Civil War battlefield

See "Remains of Civil War soldier found at Antietam," By David Dishneau, Associated Press, January 8, 2009. Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian is consulting in the case.

Museum alum begins blogging

Jenn Heilman, formerly of our Public Affairs staff, was selected for an article on "DC's singles in Washingtonian magazine. The article will not run until August 2009, but until then, they will be chronicling my dating life in an online blog with 6 other DC daters called Dating Diaries. My "profile" went public today. Check back every week -- you'll start seeing details on my dating life next week, but remember, it's on a delay for privacy so what you read about next week actually happened a month ago! I'll also be writing some of the entries myself during "roundtables" where I weigh in with dating advice or thoughts."

Good luck, Jenn!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gail Paster on Shakespeare at NLM

This will probably be an excellent talk, but I no longer go to the NLM due to NIH's ridiculous security measures.

History of Medicine Division Seminar
Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 2-3:30pm
Lister Hill Auditorium, Bldg 38A, NLM
Bethesda, MD

"The Humor of It: Bodies, Fluids, and the History of Medicine in Shakespeare."

Dr. Gail Kern Paster,
Director, The Folger Shakespeare Library

Gail Kern Paster took office as Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2002. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and three books. Her latest book, "Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage" will form the core of her talk, which will examine how humoral theory, the central tenet of Renaissance medicine, affected how characters acted and reacted on the stage and in life.

Due to advance interest in this talk, the presentation will be held in the Lister Hill Auditorium.

All are Welcome

Note: The next history of medicine seminar will be held on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 2-3:30pm in the Lister Hill Auditorium. In a special program for African American History Month, Professor Kevin Mumford will speak on "Brother Redeemers: Black Gay History and the Impact of the Aids Crisis, 1974-1988."

Sign language interpretation is provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Stephen Greenberg at (301-435-4995), e-mail, or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website:

Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Department of Health and Human Services


Anatomical collections manager Brian Spatola asked me to post this; he attended last year and thought it was good.

****** 10th ANNUAL SESSION ******

All interested parties are invited to apply for the
August 5 - 6
at the Indiana University School of Medicine - Northwest
Dunes Medical Professional Building
3400 Broadway
Gary, Indiana


PROGRAM SPONSORS: Rocco Prosthetics & Orthotic Center (Cincinnati, OH) and MORTECH Manufacturing (Azusa, CA).

Applications for the August 2009 NATIONAL Human Cadaver Prosection Program are now being accepted. All participants will learn human gross anatomy, radiology/medical imaging, and the art of skillful dissection of human cadavers. The CADAVER PROGRAM is an intensive experience of "hands-on" dissection. Participants who complete the
program will receive a certificate of completion, certification for work with biohazards & blood-borne pathogens, and honorarium (if available). SPECIAL Awards will be presented.

Representatives from Zimmer, Inc. (Zimmer Orthopedics) will conduct an on-site surgical, orthopedic workshop, and Rocco Prosthetics will present a special prosthetic session. [CME Credit is offered].

The Cadaver Prosection will be held on Wednesday, August 5 and Thursday, August 6, 2009, from 7:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., and will include 2 evenings of preparatory work in late June (out-of-state participants need not be present for the June sessions).

NEW for 2009, will be hands-on, interactive CT and MR imaging of human cadavers (for 10-12 selected participants) to take place in mid-July.

TO APPLY for this program, place the web address (below) into your browser, and then scroll down and click on the AUGUST 2009 NATIONAL HUMAN CADAVER PROSECTION PROGRAM link.

Please, follow the application instructions.

You need not be a medical professional or pre-medical student to participate. All are encouraged to apply. Prior participants have included pre-med and pre-vet, nursing, radiologic technology, mortuary science students, other undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, attorneys, lab technicians, etc. All application materials must be received no later than MAY 1, 2009. Accepted applicants will receive notification in early June.

For further information use the link above, or contact the program director:

Ernest F. Talarico, Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director of Medical Education & Assistant Professor of
Anatomy & Cell Biology
Course Director, Human Gross Anatomy & Embryology
Director, NATIONAL Human Cadaver Prosection Program
Indiana University School of Medicine - Northwest Campus
Room 3028A (office); 3028 (lab); 2032 (anatomy lab)
3400 Broadway
Gary, Indiana 46408-1197
TEL: (219) 981-4356; FAX: (219) 980-6566
Email: (Prosection Program); (IUSM-NW)

Abraham Lincoln Exhibit Coming up at NMHM, exhibit poster by Navjeet Singh Chhina

I think this came out really well, 
I want to thank Kathleen Stocker,
who was very generous with her 
time and scanned these for me
as well as photographed 
the litho of Lincoln.
Thanks also to Mike Rhode,
for his time as well. Because
content is so important, and 
the right content is all important
they made it very easy for me
to just do my job and design.
I did this in Photoshop 
and Indesign.  What I think 
museum visitors will find interesting
is that with the exception of the Harpers
drawing, all of the other components in
this exhibit poster came from actual 
artifacts in the Otis Archives from NMHM. Including the very rare
signature of Lincoln, which includes his full first name instead of the 
A. Lincoln signature.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A few more from Ball

I didn't have time to even open a box from the Ball Collection today, so these are left over from yesterday. They're all from “Miniatur-Abbildungen der wichtigsten Akiurgischen Operationen,” a book illustrating Dieffenbach's operations, by Dr. H. E. Fritze. (1838) The descriptions are transcribed and I don't have a translation. It's a fairly delicate book, which is why you can see shadows at the gutter.

Table 1: venaescetio (obviously not ophthalmic, but I liked it anyway)

Table 5: Suturae cruentae; Staphyloraphe; Operatio labii leporini

Table 10: Paracentesis sacci lacrymalis oper. Catar. Et trichiasis; Operatio blepharoptosis et pterygii

Cochlear implants evolving

The Washington Post had an interesting article on cochlear implants - "One Implant Made an Impact. Might Two Do Even More? For Family, Second Cochlear Surgery Was a Difficult Decision," By Anne Dooley, Special to The Washington Post, Tuesday, January 6, 2009; Page HE05. The article discussed how the use of the implants and the number used is changing (from one to two for various reasons) after the requisite fights with insurance companies.

If anyone has one of these to donate to the museum, even non-working, please let us know.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wellcome War & Medicine exhibit open through February

War and Medicine (22 November 2008-15 February 2009) is on display in London. I imagine this is a good exhibit. Be sure to check out the image galleries which in particular have a couple of nice shell shock images. You can see this one of ours on our flickr site as well as some mustard gas images. We recently put some facial reconstruction models on display very similar to the one seen in the photos on the Wellcome site, except ours are colored.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Jan 7: Museum exhibit manager Steve Hill speaking on Resolved exhibit design

This is one of AFIP's professional education lectures, but I imagine if one wanted to attend, one could.

The following lecture is presented by the National Museum of Health and Medicine

Date/Time: 07 Jan 09/1100am
Location: Dart Auditorium
Speaker(s): Steven Hill
Exhibits Manager
National Museum of Health and Medicine

“RESOLVED: Turning a good idea, clinical expertise, and field experience into a museum exhibit”

To explain how a scientific/health museum exhibit is created from the ground up

Talk will cover all aspects of turning an idea—in this case the United States’ commitment to individual identification of its war dead—into an museum exhibit. Subtopics will include differences between museum exhibit and other forms of communication/education, how concepts are refined and broken down into topics that can be visually presented in a museum setting, selection and security of artifacts, exhibit design and visitor flow, construction and installation.

More from the Ball Collection

Here are a few more scans from the Ball Collection. For as long as we've had it, we've thought the name was James Moore Ball. Today we discovered his middle name is Moores, with an s on the end. Just tuck that trivia away. You might need it one day.

Acc. 18873 Morbi Conjunctiva palpebrarum et bulbi. Diseases of the ocular and palpebral conjunctiva. Colored plate I from Dr. Friedrich August von Ammon's book (vol. 1).

Acc. 18874 Diseases of the bulbar and palpebral conjunctiva. Colored plate II from Dr. von Ammon's book (vol. 1).

Acc. 18875 Diseases of the cornea. Colored plate III from Dr. von Ammon's book (vol. 1).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Less pharmaceutical advertising fun

No Mug? Drug Makers Cut Out Goodies for Doctors
New York Times December 31, 2008
The pharmaceutical industry has agreed to a voluntary moratorium on branded promotional items.

Well, darn. I like the geegaws, although I'm in a constant debate with historical collections over whether or not to keep them. I'm in favor since they are part of medical history of a type.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Photographs of Museum specimens on French blog

Morbid Anatomy tipped me to E-l-i-s-e's blog post on photographs of specimens taken at the Museum. It looks like some of these were shot behind-the-scenes as even I don't recognize some of the specimens (not that it's my department...)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Whatever Happened to Polio? exhibit photos

When the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History closed in 2006, one of the things that went with it was Katherine Ott's excellent exhibit "Whatever Happened to Polio?" I don't know if the exhibit is in the re-opened museum, but when I ran across my pictures I figured I'd share them here.


Would a vaccine work? panels

Will there always be polio? panels

What do these devices do? panel with crutches.

What is polio? panels

What could your dime do? (for the March of Dimes) panel


How did polio change us? panels

What happened in a polio epidemic? panel

Interactive station

Iron lung.

Model showing how iron lung reduced pressure to enable lungs to fill with air.

What do these devices do? panel with braces.



Staying Alive: A Look at the Medical Field in Putnam County

Visiting my inlaws over the holidays, I stumbled upon this nice little exhibit in Cookeville, Tennessee at the Cookeville History Museum on the medical history of the county. There's some stuff I haven't seen before in it, like the X-ray viewer, and some good archival records too. "Staying Alive: A Look at the Medical Field in Putnam County" is on through January 17 2009.







Physician's electrical cabinet




Diagnostic instruments, bandages, splints.



Drugs and pharmaceuticals.

X-ray equipment.

Note the sterilizer iin the corner.

Examination chair.

Birthing table.

Atropine for nerve gas from Vietnam War.

Walter Reed's dinnerware.

Doctors in Vietnam War.




Wheelchair from a doctor's office.