Saturday, March 13, 2010
Letter of the Day: March 13
This actually occurred until 1968 when we were tossed out again and the building demolished to make way for the Hirshhorn Museum. It's too bad paragraph 4 wasn't taken into account in recent years.
13 March 1959
SUBJECT: Relocation of the Medical Museum of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
THRU: The Surgeon General
Department of the Army
Washington 25, D.C.
ATTN: Chief, Medical Plans & Operations Division
TO: Chief Space Management
Management Office, OSA
Room 3D 732, The Pentagon
Washington 25, D.C.
1. Ground breaking cremonies for a new building for the National Library of Medicine are now planned for this coming June. Therefore, the normal progress of construction will make it possible for the Library to occupy its new quarters in a relatively short time thereafter.
2. In view of the above, it is requested action be taken that the building now occupied by the Library on Independence Avenue at 7th Street, S.W., when vacated, be allocated to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology for the use of the Medical Museum.
3. Attention is invited to the fact that the Library building was originally built in 1886 for the joint needs of the Army Medical Museum and Library. Both agencies occupied it simultaneously for more than 60 years. During this time the Army Medical Museum expanded into a major diagnostic and research center. In 1946 it was reorganized as the Army Institute of Pathology to better reflect its major activities. At this time the Museum became one of its four departments, but the tremendous growth of the Institute meanwhile had made it necessary to move the Museum Department ot other quarters, and Chase Hall was selected. The Museum has occupied Chase Hall ever since, with a steadily growing number of visitors. Last year close to a quarter of a millions persons visited the Museum. In 1955 the Intitute of Pathology was relocated to its new building on the grounds of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but when the Institute moved, the vacated space was needed for the expanded facilities of the Library, and the Museum remained in Chase Hall.
4. The Museum has a mission of service and interest to the public. Therefore, of necessity, it must be maintained in an area readily accessible to the visitor to the Nation's Capital and to the public in general. The present Library building having been built originally to house the Museum would need no structural changes to again accommodate it. For museum purposes its location, interior adequacy, and arrangement are ideal. The allocation of this building would preclude the necessity of any further action for new quarters or a new building for many years to come.
5. Chase Hall now is programmed tentatively for demolition during the latter part of this year to make way for the Southwest Redevelopment. Consequently, assuming the above request will be approved, it is further requested that action be taken to postpone demolition of Chase Hall and allow its retention by the AFIP for Museum purposes until such time as the Museum can be moved into the Library building across the street.
Captain, MC, USN
FRANK M. TOWNSEND
Colonel, USAF (MC)
ALBERT E MINNS JR.
Curator, Medical Museum