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!



The Cleveland Common Book Community Project

Date posted: April 9th, 2015


Our friends at The Cleveland Common Book Community Project are having one day fund raiser (Monday, April 13th) with the Tropical Smoothie location on Euclid Ave. Download coupons:TSC-CCBP-Coupon-monday-13th
This organization is helping the Dittrick raise funds for restoration work on two of our rare books. The Cleveland Common Book Community Project is a club dedicated to community service and providing education opportunities to the Cleveland community through the use of encouraging and providing reading. […Read more]

Registration for the Ohio Academy of Medical History Annual Meeting is now open

Date posted: February 16th, 2015


In 2014, libraries around the world celebrated the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andreas Vesalius, best known for his Seven books on the fabric of the human body (commonly known as the Fabrica after its Latin title). It was a landmark publication in the history of medicine with its numerous illustrations and detailed description of the structures and functions of the human body. The Lloyd’s copy of the 2014 reproduction of the Fabrica will be on display alongside numerous historic and rare volumes on the history of medicine and surgery. […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]

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! […Read more]


The Dittrick Museum will be closed April 29th through May 1st


Medical Humanities Tour of London:
November 2015


The Old Operating Theatre, London

More information