World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

National Museum of Health and Medicine

Article Id: WHEBN0003576111
Reproduction Date:

Title: National Museum of Health and Medicine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Army Medical Museum and Library, Forest Glen Annex, United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, John Wilkes Booth, Army Medical Museum
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

National Museum of Health and Medicine

National Museum of Health
and Medicine
(founded as the Army Medical Museum)
The new NMHM facility,
which opened on September 15, 2011.
National Museum of Health and Medicine is located in Maryland
National Museum of Health and Medicine
Location within Maryland
Established 1862 (new building, 2011)
Location 2500 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, Maryland
Type Medicine, Military medicine
Visitors 40,000-50,000 annually
Public transit access      Forest Glen
Website .mil.medicalmuseumwww
For other military medical museums see Army Medical Museum

The National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) is a museum in Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.[1] The museum was founded by U.S. Army Surgeon General William A. Hammond as the Army Medical Museum (AMM) in 1862;[2] it became the NMHM in 1989 and relocated to its present site at the Army's Forest Glen Annex in 2011.[3] An element of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command[1] (USAMRMC), the NMHM is a member of the National Health Sciences Consortium.[4]


The Army Medical Museum and Library building housed the Army Medical Museum from 1887 to 1947 — and again from 1962 to 1969, when the building was razed.

19th century

The AMM was established during the American Civil War[3] as a center for the collection of specimens for research in military medicine and surgery.[5] In 1862, Hammond directed medical officers in the field to collect "specimens of morbid anatomy...together with projectiles and foreign bodies removed" and to forward them to the newly founded museum for study.[5] The AMM's first curator, John H. Brinton, visited mid-Atlantic battlefields and solicited contributions from doctors throughout the Union Army. During and after the war, AMM staff took pictures of wounded soldiers showing effects of gunshot wounds as well as results of amputations and other surgical procedures. The information collected was compiled into six volumes of The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, published between 1870 and 1883.[5]

20th century

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, AMM staff engaged in various types of medical research. They pioneered in photomicrographic techniques, established a library and cataloging system which later formed the basis for the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and led the AMM into research on infectious diseases while discovering the cause of yellow fever. They contributed to research on vaccinations for typhoid fever, and during World War I, AMM staff were involved in vaccinations and health education campaigns, including major efforts to combat sexually transmissible diseases.[5]

The former NMHM building (actually the basement of the AFIP building) on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) garrison, Washington, DC, where it was housed from 1971 to 2011.

By World War II, research at the AMM focused increasingly on pathology. In 1946 the AMM became a division of the new Army Institute of Pathology (AIP), which became the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in 1949. The AMM's library and part of its archives were transferred to the National Library of Medicine when that institution was created in 1956. The AMM itself became the Medical Museum of the AFIP in 1949, the Armed Forces Medical Museum in 1974, and finally the NMHM in 1989.[5] During its peak years on the National Mall in the 1960s, every year the Museum saw "as many as 400,000 to 500,000 people coming through". But after its moves to increasingly obscure and out-of-the-way sites, it fell into a period of relative neglect. By the 1990s, it was attracting only between 40,000 and 50,000 visitors a year. [6]

In 1989, National Health Museum, and which has more ambitious aims and is not dependent on what happens to the existing NMHM.

2011 move

Due to the closure of WRAMC, NMHM has relocated—for the tenth time—to U.S. Army Garrison-Forest Glen in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland.[10] Authority over the Forest Glen garrison was transferred from WRAMC to Fort Detrick in October 2008. The NMHM closed its exhibits on April 3, 2011, and reopened in a new building on September 15, 2011.


Major collections

The NMHM embodies five collections consisting of about 25 million artifacts, including 5,000 skeletal specimens, 8,000 preserved organs,[11] 12,000 items of medical equipment, an archive of historic medical documents, and collections related to neuroanatomy and developmental anatomy. The museum's most famous artifacts relate to President Abraham Lincoln and his assassination on April 14, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth.[12] On display are a copy by sculptor Avarel Fairbanks of Lincoln's life mask and hands made by Leonard Volk in 1860, the bullet fired from the Deringer pistol which ended the President's life, the probe used by the U.S. Army Surgeon General to locate the bullet during autopsy, pieces of Lincoln's hair and skull, and the autopsy surgeon's shirt cuff, stained with Lincoln's blood.[13] In 2010 the heirs of American pathologist Thomas Harvey (1912–2007) transferred all of his holdings constituting the remains of Albert Einstein's brain to the NMHM, including 14 photographs of the whole brain (which is now in fragments) never before revealed to the public.[14][15]

Museum collections include:

  • The Historical Collections document changes in medical technology since the early 19th century. Included in this growing assemblage of more than 12,000 objects are x-ray equipment, microscopes, surgical instruments, numismatics and anatomical models.
  • The Anatomical Collections are made up of bones and body parts. More than 5,000 skeletal specimens and 10,000 preserved organs document medical cases of disease and injury. The collection supports research in pathology, physical anthropology, forensic anthropology, and paleopathology.
  • The Otis Historical Archives houses photographs, illustrations, and documents related to health and medicine. More than 350 different collections document, in pictures and words, the practice of medicine from the Civil War to the present.
  • The Human Developmental Anatomy Center maintains the largest collection of embryologic material in the United States. The Center is a primary source for centralized research in developmental anatomy. The Center is also known for its imaging and 3-D reconstructions of embryo development.
  • The Neuroanatomical Collections comprise nine different collections focusing on human and non-human neuroanatomy and neuropathology. These collections are a unique international resource for the study of the brain.

Major exhibitions

Museum exhibitions feature several permanent exhibits alongside several rotating displays.

  • To Bind Up the Nation's Wounds: Medicine During the Civil War shows Civil War medicine through the eyes of battlefield surgeons and the stories of Union and Confederate sick and wounded.
  • Evolution of the Microscope displays items from the world's largest and most representative collection in tracing the development of the basic tool of the bioscientist over the last 400 years.
  • Battlefield Surgery 101: From the Civil War to Vietnam, drawn exclusively from the museum's historical archives and historical collections, presents the highlights of the evolution of military surgical activities over the last 140 years through a selection of photographs and 19th- and 20th- century artifacts.
  • Abraham Lincoln: The Final Casualty of the War: To mark the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birth, NMHM honors the 16th president of the United States with this exhibition of items associated with his last hours and the physicians who cared for him.
  • Trauma Bay II, Balad, Iraq, offers a rare view inside a former Air Force tent hospital in Balad, Iraq.
  • RESOLVED: Advances in Forensic Identification of U.S. War Dead highlights the underlying forensic sciences that have evolved in fulfilling this nation’s commitment to the identification and commemoration of the U.S. service member.

Programs offered

The museum offers a wide variety of programs on weekends, weekdays, and evenings throughout the year for adults and children, with topics ranging through a spectrum of medical, scientific, and historical subjects.[16]

Flier for October 8, 2011 NMHM Science Café.

Other exhibit information is available here.

Location and hours

The museum is located at 2500 Linden Lane in Silver Spring, Maryland, one mile outside the District of Columbia. It is open to the public, but security restrictions require a photo ID for all adult visitors.[17] It is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Christmas (when it is closed), and admission is free.[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e
  6. ^ Tanouye, Erik, “National Mall Running Out of Space: Federal Planners Want No More Museums in the 2-mile Strip”, Hearst News Service, February 12, 1998.
  7. ^ Abse, Nathan, “Push Is On for New Medical Museum as Old Collection Is Modernized”, Washington Post, December 16, 1997.
  8. ^ This spot is at Third Street and Independence Avenue SW. See: 108 STAT. 2852 PUBLIC LAW 103-337 —OCT. 5, 1994 (c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
  9. ^ Abse (1997), Op. cit.
  10. ^ Palk, Justin M. (2008), “Fort Detrick to take over Forest Glen”,, 7 October 2008.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Falk, Dean, Frederick E. Lepore, and Adrianne Noe (2012), “The cerebral cortex of Albert Einstein: a description and preliminary analysis of unpublished photographs”, Brain; 135: 11.
  15. ^ Balter, Michael, "Rare photos show that Einstein's brain has unusual features", The Washington Post, Tuesday, 27 November 2012; E6.
  16. ^ National Museum of Health and Medicine Events, accessed 7 Oct 2011.
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links

  • The National Museum of Health and Medicine official website
  • - a partnership of the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State Comparative Mammalian Brain Collections and the National Museum of Health and Medicine
  • James G. Mundie's photographs from The National Museum of Health and Medicine
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.