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!



For a bit of fun, you can now color our collections!

Date posted: January 19th, 2016

Yes the Dittrick Museum has a coloring book of images from our rare books collection. Catherine Osborn, PhD Student in Medical Anthropology (CWRU), Research Assistant and Instagram manager (Dittrick Museum) has put together a coloring book of charming images from our rare books collection. …Read more.


Jacqueline Wolf PhD. presents “From Ether to Epidural” video now available

Date posted: December 14th, 2015

Jacqueline Wolf PhD. presents From Ether to Epidural: Obstetric Anesthesia in Historic, Medical, and Social Context. Reproduction, birth, and women’s health in the 19th century shaped the way we practice obstetrics today. …Read more.


Medical Museums: Past, Present, Future book is back in stock

Date posted: December 2nd, 2015

This book is not widely available but we have them in stock available through our online store.
Medical museums continue to fascinate and disturb. A unique collaboration of curators and scholars provides unrivalled access to international collections of preserved human and animal bodies, and instruments used in the pursuit of well being. …Read more.


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.


Dittrick Museum now open until 7:00 pm Wednesday evenings!


ChairVisit the museum and see all our new exhibits including Childbirth in America, 1840 through 1940.

See this German midwife’s chair (c. 1850) and many other fascinating artifacts associated with the birth process.