Dittrick Medical History Center

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!


NEH fund “How Medicine Became Modern” at the Dittrick

Date posted: July 29th, 2015

We are pleased to report that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will fund “How Medicine Became Modern,” an interactive digital history exhibit in development at the Dittick. …Read more.

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). …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.  …Read more.


Gallery opening and lecture Thursday Nov. 19th


ChairJacqueline Wolf, PhD. (Ohio University) will present “From Ether to Epidural: Obstetric Anesthesia in Historic, Medical, and Social Context.”

The Dittrick Museum opens its newest gallery! Reproduction, birth, and women’s health in the 19th century shaped the way we practice obstetrics today.

For more information and RSVP details: