Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Do you know where the National Museum of Health and Medicine is located?"

Sure I do. It's on an Army base, in an industrial park, in a suburban neighborhood...

The National Museum of Health and Medicine
However, you'd have a hard time answering the following question, "Excuse me, do you know where the National Museum of Health and Medicine is located?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New medical museum opens in Kansas

New medical museum opens
Shawnee Dispatch
The museum tells that story through exhibits focusing on different countries, Native Americans, diseases, medicines, medical specialties and other areas of ...


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mutter museum article

Travel: It's what??? Philadelphia's Mutter Museum is 'disturbingly ...
Waterloo Record
The nation's finest and oldest medical museum — it's celebrating its 150th anniversary March 4 — bills itself as "disturbingly informative" and that is ...

Waterloo Record

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bits on medical museums on 2 continents

This is from a first-time visitor to the National Museum of Health and Medicine, who reflects on medical care during the Civil War and today:
C'est la guerre: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
by Donna McNeely Burke
In this article, a writer's favorite museum to revisit is the Welcome:
Literary City: Deborah Levy's London
Booker Prize–shortlisted author Deborah Levy takes us on a tour of her literary London. From her cozy garden shed to the medical museum she revisits to why you can wear a bikini on the bus and no one cares, she explores her city with Henry Krempels.
Feb 22, 2013

Why 'Lincoln' should win an Oscar for Best Picture...

...because there's a brief scene of General Daniel Sickles' leg on display at the Medical Museum. Sickles lost his leg at the battle of Gettysburg. The movie is inaccurate as it shows the leg still fully fleshed - which would have stunk amazingly as the flesh decayed off the bone. Instead Museum prepator Schafhirt would have cut and boiled the flesh off, and then wired the bones together so they looked like this picture.
Another scene of a pit of amputated limbs seems to have been influenced by RB Bontecou's photograph "Field Day." And here's the original label for Surgical Photograph 43, Sickle's "Right Tibia and Fibula comminuted by a Cannon Ball."

Upcoming lecture on Medical Museum in NY

What is a sense of place in relation to corporeal subjectivity? If an amputee leaves limb in one place and occupies body in another, how do we define place as rooted by personal location? Likewise if a nation is divided in two by war, what does it mean for a medical museum to display fragments of the bodies of honorable combatants and amputees? How does a museum shape our sense of self, our ideas about nationhood and place, and aid in collective mourning? I argue that the U.S. Army Medical Museum, founded in 1862 during the American Civil War, represented parts of the human body through practices of institutional display and within the pages of sponsored medical publications as both aesthetic objects and medically educational tools. Through an engagement with representations of corporeal fracture in the writings of S. Weir Mitchell and in period photography, lithography, and the field sketches of Winslow Homer, this paper argues that corporeal fracture - made evident within the walls of the U.S. Army Medical Museum and its publications - complicates fixed notions about placement and displacement during and after the American Civil War making living specimens out of some and offering a location for mourning for a nation. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

American Registry of Pathology retains museum staff contract

The American Registry of Pathology has a long, convoluted history, but was regularized in 1976 with a Congressional charter to support the now-defunct Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. During the time I worked in the Museum, they supplied contract labor for about 2/3 of the staff of the Museum. With the awarding of an almost $6 million dollar contract last week, that role will apparently continue.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Index to "Photographs of Surgical Cases and Specimens" online now

 A PDF scan of the finding aid for the Civil War pictures taken at and published by the Army Medical Museum - Index to "Photographs of Surgical Cases and Specimens" and Surgical Photographs, 3rd edition (1994) has been put online at

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

African-American Civil War Surgeons in the NLM Collections lecture

You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held Tuesday, 12 February 2013 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., in the Lister Hill Auditorium, National Library of Medicine, Building 38A, Bethesda, MD.  In recognition of African-American History Month, we present:
"Oak Leaves on his Shoulders: Discovering African-American Civil War Surgeons in the NLM Collections."
Jill L. Newmark
Exhibition Registrar/Traveling Exhibition Service,
History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine
During the American Civil War, African American men and women served as medical personnel in hospitals and on the battlefield.  Histories of Civil War Medicine often overlook their participation and contributions, since few personal accounts of black surgeons and nurses exist and materials are often hidden amongst the thousands of Civil War records throughout the country including the National Library of Medicine.  This presentation explores one hospital in Washington, D.C. and follows the journey of discovery that uncovered several African American Civil War surgeons.  The presentation will highlight newly discovered materials from the History of Medicine Division and how they illuminate the story of these surgeons. 
All are welcome.
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:
Sponsored by
NLM's History of Medicine Division
Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, Chief
Event contact:
Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine, NIH

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Newspaper profile of the Mutter Museum

See Albert Einstein's brain and other matters of medical history ...
Allentown Morning Call
The nation's finest and oldest medical museum — celebrating its 150th anniversary March 4 — bills itself as "disturbingly informative" and that is ...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Medical Museum in Lincoln movie

I'm told that Sickles' leg and the medical museum briefly feature in the hit movie Lincoln.

Staff departures, catching up again

Anatomical collections curator Franklin Damann is leaving in February to set up a lab.

Apparently the exhibit designer position left by Navjeet Singh has been filled.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Medical illustration and history of medicine at Belskie Museum

DSCF5972The Belskie Museum of Art & Science in northern New Jersey has medical illustration and history of medicine sculptures done by Abram Belskie. I recently visited it and took some photos of his works.

It appears as though they may hold his papers which might make an interesting research project. Belskie worked on a Birth Atlas in 1940. The museum publishes a small booklet about him that's available at the information desk.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another Brad Meltzer interview on mysterious medical museums

Brad Meltzer Hunts "The Fifth Assassin"
Kiel Phegley,
Comic Book Resources January 15 2013

Medical museum spurs thriller idea

Brad Meltzer's new thriller gets Oval Office insight

Mon, Jan 14 2013

By Kurt Anthony Krug

"Meltzer explained that the idea for the book came during a visit to the little-known U.S. Army-run National Museum of Health and Medicine near Washington."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Who's buried in John Wilkes Booth's grave?

A deathbed claim
Enid News & Eagle
Elements of the 16th New York Cavalry tracked Booth and an accomplice to a .... and since have been preserved at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Staff departures, catching up

Exhibit designer Navjeet Chhina departed the medical museum in the late summer of 2011. He'd like BM's readers to know that.

Another departure is imminent, I'm told.

History of drugs - article of interest

Ancient pills found in shipwreck offer rare insight into early ...
The results offer a peek into the complexity and sophistication of ancient ...