College of Arts and Sciences

Dittrick Medical History Center

Dittrick Medical History Center

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About the Dittrick Museum of Medical History

The Dittrick Medical History Center is comprised of the museum, archives, and collections of rare books, artifacts, and images. The Center originated as part of the Cleveland Medical Library Association (est. 1894) and today functions as an interdisciplinary study center within the College of Arts and Sciences of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

For a long time, the Dittrick could be said to be a doctor’s museum.  Doctors created it, staffed it, collected for it, and saw it as a vehicle to document and venerate the medical profession. We still do that, but have broadened our mission to encompass a more universal perspective on health and medicine.  Our most recent initiative, for example, presents the history of contraception.  There are doctors and medicine in that story to be sure, but a whole lot more.  We embrace the experience of individuals and society, trying to understand what options they had and what choices they made. We provide narratives about key collection pieces, news and notes about upcoming events,  and interesting and anecdotal reflections on our shared medical past and its connection to our present and future.

Find out more by reading our latest newsletter!



Art and Medicine: Ephemeral Antidotes at BAYarts

Date posted: March 29th, 2014


Arabella Proffer presents her artwork in a unique showcase at BAYarts. After discovering the Dittrick Museum of Medical History, she spent time doing research and attending lectures that  fueled inspiration. Come see a fascinating show combining medical history and artistic vision. In 2010 Arabella Proffer was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, and in […]

Medical Illustration! Lecture at the Cleveland Institute of Art

Date posted: March 26th, 2014

Jim Perkin’s lecture: “Netter and Me: Following in the Footsteps of the World’s Greatest Medical Illustrator” this Friday, 3/28 at 5pm in the Screening Room (rm321) at CIA’s Joseph McCullough Center for the Arts.

Draw Nigh: Approaching Death in a Culture of Immortality

Date posted: February 20th, 2014

On Thursday, April 3 at 6pm, Dr. Brandy Schillace of the Dittrick Museum will present a lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death. The Dirge exhibit explores how contemporary artists use their individual practices to capture, react to, reflect on, and make sense of mortality. The […]

MOCA: A new exhibit on reflections of life and death

Date posted: January 10th, 2014

Organized by Megan Lykins Reich, Director of Programs and Associate Curator, DIRGE offers artistic Reflections on [Life and] Death. Appearing in the Main Gallery and Rosalie and Morton Cohen Family Gallery, March 7, 2014 — June 8, 2014. The Affiliations: Dittrick museum is hosting a temporary exhibit on anatomy artist Jan Van Rymsdyk and a […]