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!



Renovations under way

Date posted: June 10th, 2015

We are renovating gallery space! As a result, certain exhibits will be closed. We apologize for any inconvenience, but not to worry! The museum will remain open through much of the construction, and we look forward to sharing more medical history in the renewed spaces! […Read more]

Video of lecture now available, The Body in the Book: The Fabrica and the Epitome (1543) presented by Sachiko Kusukawa

Date posted: April 27th, 2015


On April 16th Cleveland Medical Library Association hosted a special lecture. Dr. Sachiko Kusukawa a leading Vesalius scholar, a Fellow in History and Philosophy of Science, Trinity College, Cambridge University, her research has focused on the observational, descriptive and pictorial practices in the development of scientific knowledge in the early modern period (1500-1720). Her work on visual arguments in sixteenth-century botanical and anatomical works resulted in Picturing the Book of Nature, (University of Chicago Press, […Read more]

Lakeside Medical Unit of WWI website is available

Date posted: January 15th, 2015


The Lakeside Unit, comprised of Cleveland surgeons and nurses from Lakeside Hospital (now University Hospital, Case Medical Center) was directed by George W. Crile, MD, chief of surgery at Lakeside.  The Unit spent three months in Paris at the American Ambulance treating French and British soldiers.  This compelling story comes to life through Crile’s personal diaries and photographs taken by members of the Unit. More information and link to new site. […Read more]



Medical Humanities Tour of London:
November 2015


The Old Operating Theatre, London

More information