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!





September 16th, 6:00 pm Chief Curator James Edmonson PhD. presents Exploring Blaufox Hall

Date posted: September 10th, 2014

Explorations: A series of informal events for our members Explore the crafting of the Blaufox Hall of Diagnostic instruments with the Dittrick’s chief curator, Jim Edmonson. Blaufox Hall is the most comprehensive display of its kind in the United States, featuring a world class collection of precious and rare objects. We’ve showcased and interpreted [ more]

Kate Manning book event!

Date posted: August 27th, 2014


September 23rd, 5:30 pm book launch, My Notorious Life by Kate Manning The Dittrick Museum will host a book signing and talk featuring Kate Manning, author of the new historical novel, My Notorious Life (Scribner). O, the Oprah Magazine, calls the book “a daring page-turner.” Readers can learn more about My Notorious Life on Manning’s [ more]

Pardon Our Dust!

Date posted: July 14th, 2014

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!

Forensic Exhibit now on Display in Hall Gallery!

Date posted: July 14th, 2014


Did you miss the special exhibit? No problem! The forensic exhibit introducing Cleveland’s own “Sherlock,” the blood and poison expert John George Spenzer, has a new home! The temporary display has been moved to a permanent exhibit case in the Dittrick’s hall gallery. Come discover Spenzer’s case book!