Saturday, February 28, 2009

The VisualMD

Anatomical Travelogue, a medical visualization company, has created a new site that should be pretty neat when its done, it's in beta testing right now. The site has health guides, a library of images and videos on various topics. A lot of images are recycled from some books they've done on various health topics. A lot of those images have been shown at the museum in past exhibits and some of the embryology images are from pictures and data from the Human Developmental Anatomy Center.

Researchers from Japan lead to news story

Here's a story on a 1954 fisherman whose death the AFIP consulted on: "US sought tissue from dead fisherman after 1954 H-bomb test," Chiba (Japan), Feb 23. Researchers from Japan were in last month, looking at various collections relating to radiation injury and then we got a call from a reporter a few days later.

James Hansen, the person who sent in the case and later donated his records of it, became the director of the AFIP in the 1970s and his daughter is planning on donating his personal papers to us this year. I didn't read the documents (which are in the AFIP Historical Files under "Hansen" for those interested), so I can't vouch for the accuracy of the news story. DeCoursey was on the ground after the atomic bombing of Japan, and took some motion picture footage, so it would make sense that he retained his interest in radiation injuries.

Walter Reed medical center WW1 photos appearing on Flickr

Walter Reed Historical Collection
Kathleen's uploading a bunch of World War I photos from Walter Reed hospital up on our Flickr account now, since she purchased a Pro account for us. She's also put up some veterinary shots.
We've been pulling these photographs for a year to possibly include in a book on the campus, which is just about finished now. Produced by the Borden Institute, it should be going to the Government Printing Office this coming week, and be available for purchase by April. The photographs included come from many places including us, WRAMC's archives, the National Archives, WRAMC's Dept. of Public Works archive, and John Pierce, a collector and historian.
As of today, Flickr's stats are reporting that our 755 photographs have over 110,000 views. Web2.0 is an amazing thing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thanks for checking us out!

The day I merged the 4 Flickr accounts into one, and talked about it here, our viewership soared on the combined account: 2790 views on that day alone. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Baby's Got a Brand New Name

I had a "duh!" moment today when I talked to Mike about coming up with a name for our combined Flickr account. Medical Museum just tripped off his tongue and so it is. You can find us here at Flickr.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Moving Day

This morning I finished moving both of the remaining Flickr accounts to consolidate them into one. Feel free to visit and add tags and send us emails if we need to add individual photos to sets or even add more sets.

We're also batting around ideas of what to call it, rather than 99129398@N00. National Museum of Health and Medicine is a little wordy, NMHM too cryptic, and we've blanked out on anything else. We could use some ideas.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

We're Migrating... one Flickr account. We finally have a pro account so I took a leap of faith and downloaded a migration program that I had to have Microsoft Explorer (ugh) for, downloaded that, and am now in the process of migrating Otisarchives2 to Otisarchives1. It takes a while so the other two accounts probably won't be done until tomorrow.

Brazilian pathology blog

Here's a tip from one of the pathologists at work - his friend Luciano Franco of Brazil has started The Background Doc, a blog about interesting autopsies he's done. Of the first four posts, I'd say two were of general interest - polycystic kidney disease and worms in the gut.

Sec of Smithsonian on future

Our friends at the Medical Museion linked to this first - "Wayne Clough is still trying to connect the Smithsonian Institution"

Washington City Paper Best of DC 2009 poll

The City Paper's just started its 2009 poll for Best of DC and you can vote for the museum. Go check it out and vote now.

City of Las Cruces City Museums annual report.

City of Las Cruces City Museums annual report? Why you ask? Museum exhibit dept. alum Carey Crane's heading a department out there now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leo Slater lecture on malaria at UMD

The cover of his new book is a photograph from us -

The Maryland Colloquium on the History of Technology, Science, and Environment (MCHOTSE) is pleased to announce its session for March 5, 2009.

Leo B. Slater, author of "War and Disease: Biomedical Research on Malaria in the Twentieth Century" (Rutgers University Press, 2009).

The Colloquium meets in room TLF (Taliaferro Hall) 2110 at the University of Maryland, College Park. Social 'hour' with refreshments, 4:00-4:30 pm; presentation and discussion, 4:30-6:00 pm.

[no precirculated paper available for this talk]

Malaria-a major cause of mortality and morbidity during the twentieth century-remains one of the leading killers in the world today. Malaria's enormous impact on human populations throughout the modern era has often put this disease at the center of colonial expansion, warfare, economic transformation, and North/South global tensions. In the late 1930s, the growing global conflict brought new attention to malaria.

The US antimalarial program during World War II was a Manhattan Project for biomedicine. From 1939 to 1946, it screened some 14,000 compounds for antimalarial activity, clinically ratified atabrine as the drug of choice in 1943, and, by war's end, identified chloroquine as a superior compound. Initiated by the National Research Council, the program drew on a set of intellectual and organizational resources and models extending back to the German pharmaceutical and dye industries and to such domestic institutions as the Rockefeller Institutes and Foundation. Prospectively, the wartimeantimalarial program deserves historical attention as both an undertaking in its own right-one that helped to safeguard millions of GIs-and as a model for future large-scale biomedical research projects. Its later use as a model was perhaps most clearly seen at the National Institutes of Health.

The innovations of the US wartime antimalarial program chiefly lay in three areas: administration, scale, and communication. The program produced not just research findings, novel compounds, and clinical protocols, it also developed new organizational structures for scientific cooperation and distributed research networks. I argue that wartime work was essential to the development of NIH, if only because the confused and faltering structures of the early war years, 1939-1943, suggest that an organizational infrastructure for large scale, multi-center cooperative research did not exist prior to World War II.


Taliaferro Hall is up the hill past the Memorial Chapel, off of U.S. Rte. 1 (Baltimore Ave.) in College Park. The University's web site will provide a map as well as advice on parking [see:; look for building 043]. Many restricted lots at the university are available to the public after 4:00 pm, but attendees are advised to read all parking lot signs carefully. Lots C and L are the closest unrestricted lots (after 4 pm) to Taliaferro Hall.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Calling All Knitters!

On Saturday, February 28, from 2-5 p.m. the NMHM will host a Knitting for Marines charity event to make and distribute helmet liners to Marines stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The liners help to protect our Marines and keep them warm during the harsh winters in these countries.

If you don't know how to knit in the round, this is a great time to learn. Instructors will be on site to help you through the project. If you are an experienced knitter and wish to get an early start on the project, you may download the knitting pattern.

I hope you'll join us! This will be an excellent opportunity to see our new exhibit, "Balad: Trauma Bay II."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More Lincoln news, this time mentioning the Army Medical Museum!

Another in recent news clips mentioning the Museum, though this one is a little different...

Last night was the official gala re-opening for Ford's Theatre after its two-year renovation. In this article on Bloomberg today you will find mention of the Army Medical Museum (today's NMHM). Here's the money paragraph:
In the aftermath of the assassination, the government bought the theater, which dates to 1861, from Ford for $100,000 and gave it to the War Department for use as storage space and an Army Medical Museum.
This news on the same day our exhibit received the last major element for installation - the remnants of a flag that hung in the state box at Ford's the night Lincoln was shot.


Sex, Sin, and Science: A History of Syphilis in America lecture this Saturday

Sex, Sin, and Science: A History of Syphilis in America

When: Saturday, February 14, 2009, 11:00 a.m.

Where: Russell Auditorium, National Museum of Health and Medicine (AFIP, Bldg. 54)

What: 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? Why were so many women with venereal disease quarantined in America in both world wars? What impact did the introduction of penicillin have on the spread of venereal disease? Join us 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

Odd copies of our Civil War pics in the Library of Congress

I saw one of these pictures referenced in a paper on Civil War wounded (more about that paper anon). They are linked from a nice little page on enlisted soldiers in the Civil War, which I thought was an excellent finding aid.

The top photograph, is a copy photo of four of our Surgical Photographs. The Library isn't quite sure who is in the picture, so I sent them this information via their Ask a Librarian interface:

Brink, John, Pvt. Co. K., 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry Reproduction number: LC-B8184-10376 - upper left. (Surgical Photograph 208)

Decker, Samuel H., Pvt. Co. I, 9th U.S. Artillery Reproduction number: LC-B8184-10376 - lower left (Surgical Photograph 205)

Shutter, Allison, Drummer, Co. C, 7th Pennsylvania Reserves - lower right (Surgical Photograph 204)

Warden, Sergeant. - upper right. (Surgical Photograph 207) - this may have been a fake name. He was found on the streets of Washington and came to the Museum for a photograph, but they never found a record of him.

LC-B8184-10377 Smith, Eben - man on lower left, w/ amputated leg. (Surgical photograph 029)

Volk, Edward, Pvt. Co. D., 55th Ohio Volunteers, Reproduction number: LC-B8184-10377 - skull in upper right corner (Surgical Photograph 212)

LC-B8184-10377 - lower right - not a Civil War soldier - Pvt. John Schranz, 7th Austrian Feldjagers (Surgical photograph 247)

The other skull is anonymous.

We've actually scanned all 400 of these images at 900 dpi - we just haven't figured out how to put them on the web for everyone yet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lincoln artifacts at Museum featured in Post

This article talks a bit about the Museum's Lincoln objects, and has pictures of them -
"A Curious-Looking Hero Still Mesmerizes the Nation: Even Tiniest Lincoln Relics Command Reverence," By Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, February 10, 2009; Page A01.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cartoons at Walter Reed hospital

Here's a couple of pictures with cartoon themes that have shown up in the process of doing a photo book on Walter Reed Army Medical Center:

Uncle Scrooge poster - WRAMC ward 1970s

Early 1970s ward in Walter Reed Army Medical Center hospital where soldiers wounded in Vietnam were treated. Note the Uncle Scrooge poster on the wall. From the WRAMC DPW collection.


Garry Trudeau visits wounded soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center hospital. Courtesy of the Stripe newspaper.

Lincoln Bicentennial Goes Into Overdrive

As we get closer (just a few more days!) to the actual bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, the pace of news coverage - about Lincoln himself and celebrations in DC and nationwide - is getting ramped up to a fever pitch.

Our new exhibit 'Abraham Lincoln: The Final Casualty of the War' - which Kathleen blogged about earlier - is included in the long list of exhibits in and around DC that are centered on the slain president. So, it's natural then that we're getting some collateral coverage (did I just coin that phrase?) in other write-ups of exhibits at Library of Congress or Smithsonian, or the re-opening at Ford's Theatre like in this article here. (Regrettably, the hyperlink they offer is incorrect. But the name and location is there.)

I'll try to make sure I post other links to worthwhile news coverage as it comes in.

Have you seen the new exhibit in the gallery yet? Are you planning a visit to DC and a visit to the Museum? Let us know about your experiences.

Death of a donor

Almost 20 years ago, Mrs. Dilorenzo contacted us about her husband, Dr. Anthony Dilorenzo's medical material. Alan and I went to her home and picked up a lot of pharmaceuticals, advertising material, books and some medical equipment. These types of visits are always tough, but have to be done. Mrs. Dilorenzo herself passed away recently - "Julie DiLorenzo Church Member," Washington Post Friday, February 6, 2009; Page B07. The collection of her husband's work is available in the Museum.

A Day in the Life

Last Friday, a British film crew crew came in on behalf of the History Channel to shoot some footage for a special on ... Lincoln! That was a shocker (in Washington now, every other thing is about Abraham Lincoln).

The crew had a team of 4 - director, videographer, sound man, and general fixer. They filmed parts of our new Lincoln exhibit (see?) and then shot some of Tim talking in front of parts of the Civil War exhibit. Then it was my turn.

I talked about surgery and amputations in front of the large mural in the Battlefield Surgery exhibit, then about reparative (ie plastic surgery) in front of the case that Alan and Steve did in that exhibit, and then talked briefly about Field Day, our picture of a pile of amputated limbs at Harewood Hospital.

Then the fun began. We went back to the Archives where they turned off all the lights and set up some of theirs with blue filters for that spooky 'archives' effect. I'm thinking we need to switch over to this permanently to cut down the number of walk-in requests. Then they filmed me turning the movable aisle handles over and over again. Then walking into an aisle over and over again. Then opening a bound volume of Civil War photographs over and over again. I think you're getting the picture (and this was a very good crew, who were working quickly).

I'm not a big fan of doing tv - it's too much like making sausage. Still it's neat when one of your neighbors rides by and says, "I saw you on tv yesterday" as happened to me last week.

Wow Wow Wow, Ophthalmology and Dissections

The Ball Collection, and I hope you're not bored to tears with it yet, continues to wow me. Here are the treasures I uncovered today, and no pun intended. All typos are mine alone.

Acc 20836-14 Dissection of the head to show the relation of the eyeball to the orbital margin, the course of the optic nerve, the position of the optic chiasma, the trochlear nerve in its whole course, the cavernous sinus, and the semilunar or Gasserian ganglion.

Acc 20836-10 The obicularis oculi muscle dissected away from the lateral side and swung medially to show the direct continuity of its pars lacrimalis with the pretarsal or pars tarsalis fibers which run along the lid margins. The relation to the upper part of the lacrimal sac, which has been exposed by cutting through the lacrimal fascia, is shown.

Acc 20836-8 Dissection of the eyelids, third stage. The orbicularis oculi and the septum orbitale have been completely removed, and the fore edge of the aponeurosis of the levator cut away to expose the tarsal plate; the orbital fat has been cleared away. The preparation shows the supra-orbital and supra-trochlear nerves, the pulley of the superior oblique muscle, the anastomosis between the ophthalmic and angular veins, the inferior oblique muscle with its so-called "check ligament" (the only instance of this structure the writer has met), and the lacrimal gland subdivided into its two parts by the lateral horn of the aponeurosis of the levator.

Acc 20836-6 The middle concha has been pulled upwards to expose the middle meatus. The position of the fossa for the lacrimal sac relative to this wall was ascertained by driving pins through from the opposite side and is outlined in black. Rods have been passed through the opening of the sphenoid sinus and down the infundibulum of the frontal sinus; the latter leads into the hiatus semilunaris, which is bounded above by the rounded bulla ethmoidalis and below by the processus uncinatus; the ostium maxillare of the antrum is also seen.

Acc 20836-9 The relations of the lacrimal gland. Dissection of the left orbit from above and also in front to show the aponeurosis of the levator palpebrae superioris muscle and the lacrimal gland. The pulley of the superior oblique and its tendon are also seen. Natural size.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Anatomy for the Younger Set

In one of those quirky, roundabout ways you have of finding sites on the internet comes American Science and Surplus, which has Anatomical Foam Fun:

Not just for toddlers anymore! While you can't start too young prepping for MCATs, our foam puzzles are must-haves for anyone planning a career as a gastroenterologist or orthopedic surgeon. You get (2) flexible, dense-foam puzzles in vivid colors, 11" x 6-1/4" x 5/16" thick. One is a 14-piece jigsaw of the digestive system, the other is a 21-piece skeleton model. Both have all the relevant parts labeled.

A bargain at $3.95 for two different puzzles. I'd show them but haven't figured out how to copy the image over.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

NLM digitizes Journal of National Medical Association

PubMed Central Adds Historically Significant Journal of the National Medical Association (1909-2007) to Its Free Online Holdings

In celebration of Black History Month, the National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce an important addition to PubMed Central (PMC), its free digital archive of full-text journal articles: the complete archive of the Journal of the National Medical Association (JNMA), which observes its centennial this year. To see the archive, please visit:

The National Medical Association (NMA), established in 1895, is the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and allied health professionals in the United States. The JNMA was published quarterly from 1909 to 1938, bimonthly from 1940 to 1977, and monthly since 1978. The archive currently represents over 77,000 digitized pages of issues, cover to cover, through 2007. Current content will be coming at a later date.

Since its founding, this landmark journal has enabled African American health professionals to keep current regarding the latest medical and public health practices, even in the face of segregation and discrimination. This archive provides historical insight into the social, medical and public health issues that continue to be of particular concern to African American patients and physicians. It has also served as a venue to challenge disparaging interpretations of African American health history published in other medical and social science journals. The collection is of great interest to U.S. and international researchers concerned with the societal impact of health care inequalities. Scholars seeking to understand the historic barriers faced by the African American patient and physician will find this collection to be an invaluable resource.

To learn more about PubMed Central, or to browse its contents, go to:

Michael J. North,
Head of Rare Books & Early Manuscripts
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894

(301) 496-9204 * fax (301) 402-0872

Sickles at Gettysburg book PR

As most people who know about the Museum know, we've got part of Dan Sickles that he left behind at Gettysburg. Here's some PR about a new book by Jim Hessler which undoubtedly talks about what he left behind:

Many of you have asked me to keep you updated on the status of my Dan Sickles biography- "Sickles at Gettysburg". It is finally done and will be published on May 1, 2009! The book is full-length (400+ pages), hard cover, with maps and photos. I cover Sickles' entire life (including the murder trial, Chancellorsville, his efforts to remove George Meade from command, his expulsion from the NY Monuments Commission, etc.) with the primary focus, of course, on Gettysburg.

The book will retail at $32.95, and I intend to have signed copies available for a lower price sometime around publication (although I don't yet know that price). I did want to let you know, however, that Amazon is currently offering a pretty good pre-publication deal: $21.75 + free shipping eligibility. It's probably a few dollars lower than what I will be able to offer later, so if you are watching your money right now, I don't know how long Amazon will offer it at this price. (The author doesn't get consulted on these things.) Of course, if you do buy from Amazon, I'll be happy to sign it the next time I see you.

The Amazon link is here (or go to Amazon and search 'Sickles at Gettysburg') :

You can read more about the book at my website:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Lincoln Exhibit

Pictures from today's installation of the new Lincoln exhibit:

This one's not actually from today, but it shows our registrar with a drawer that slides in under the exhibit case which will hold a moisture-controlling substance.

Jim is placing an original drawing of Lincoln's death scene, by Hermann Faber.

The probe that doctors used to try to find the bullet in Lincoln's brain is being marked for position.

Now that the positions are marked and plexiglass posts are in place to hold everything where it needs to be, the panel is taken to the exhibit floor and placed on the stand. Jim and Steve fine-tune placement of documents.

The case's contents have been carefully laid into place and now Jim and Steve lower the plexi cover ve-e-e-ry gently and settle it down and around the platform.

The contents of the second case have been prepped by being backed with stiffening board and held in place with mylar strips. Some of the things on this table are an account by the first doctor to treat Lincoln, Charles A. Leale (coincidentally, this pamphlet was republished by Dr. Leale's estate on the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth), and a tear sheet from the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, which lists Lincoln as another casualty of the war. He is listed in the book as A____ L____.

The second case has been brought to the exhibit floor and more items have been added, including a lock of Lincoln's hair, fragments from his skull, a blood-stained cuff from a doctor who treated him, and the bullet that killed him.

Uh-oh, the cuff is in the wrong place. Jim is holding the envelope that held the cuff when it was donated to the museum as Andrea suggests the correct location for the cuff.

Jim removes Lincoln's life mask from the temporary storage cabinet to add to the 3rd cabinet. Sorry for the blur.

The case's platform is placed on the floor, the Lincoln mask (a life mask, not a death mask) is lowered onto batting, and we all hit the floor, making sure there's plenty of clearance.

All the items have been installed and the completed exhibit is open for visitors.

Non-ophthalmic images from the Ball Collection

After a couple of weeks of insanely fast-paced chaos in the archives, I was able to get back to the Ball Collection today for a short time. Here are two scans I made that don't begin to do the original images justice. I wish I could show just how gorgeous the originals are. They are both from Accession 18846: Book: “A Series of Engravings Explaining the Course of the Nerves with an Address to Young Physicians on the Study of the Nerves,” by Charles Bell, First American edition, 1818.

The ghost image of the lower leg and foot you see here has been transferred from the page, where it was folded up on itself.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Skull from 54th Mass Viewable in New 'Virtual' Exhibit

We recently published two new 'virtual' exhibits and one of those new pages offers a link to Black History Month, but as those new pages might be hard to find (go here, scroll down to the bottom of the page), I thought I would post some easy links and a bit of teaser text.

An aside: Are these 'virtual' exhibits? Is there even a standard definition for 'virtual' exhibits? It's an easy term to apply in this case as the pages offer virtually most, if not all, of the text and photographs (and photos of objects) for temporary exhibits that have been previously installed in the Museum's galleries. I am a fan of capturing that exhibit text and some/most/all of the photographs (or photos of objects) and offering it for posterity via the Web site. Hopefully these offer some value to our Web visitors (which gets back to last week's conversation about The Long Tail.)

Back to the show...

One of the new pages features some interesting information and photographs of objects from the William Holland Wilmer Ophthalmology Collection.

The second page - titled "Effects of Canister Shot in the Civil War: Skull of a soldier of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers" - features the skull of a man who was a member of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers. Civil War-types will know that this was the unit depicted in the major motion picture Glory. (I mention that with some caution, as I know the movie usually prompts some interesting conversations about historical accuracy in film.)

Here is a bit of the text from the virtual exhibit itself, which is available online here:
This skull was discovered in 1876 on Morris Island, South Carolina, near the site of Battery Wagner, a powerful earthwork fort that had protected the entrance to Charleston Harbor during the Civil War.

The skull belonged to a man of African descent—a soldier of the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, which had led the assault on Wagner on the night of July 18, 1863. Of approximately 600 men who made the charge, 256 were killed, wounded, or missing.

Let us know what you think!

Museum Audio Tour Now Available for Download

If you've had the opportunity to visit the Museum in the last year or so, you might have seen that we added a free audio tour. The first phase was installed in early 2008 and featured many of the Museum's long-standing exhibits and an update was added this past November that featured our two newest installations (RESOLVED and Balad.)

(At left, that's the graphic that graces some of the audio tour materials.)

But now, you aren't limited to listening to the audio tour just while visiting the Museum - enjoy it at home, the office or on the road! Visit the new Audio Tour page on the Museum's Web site and you'll find links to the series of MP3s that make up the tour. It's listed by exhibit with associated links to relevant Web content, and note that the list runs onto two pages!

Next time you are at the Museum, consider adding the audio tour to your visit. It's free and you can check out the listening wands at the Museum's information desk. Groups can reserve the audio tour, too. More information about the audio tour is here.

Let us know if you find a link that goes awry. Enjoy the downloads and tell your friends!