Dittrick Medical History Center

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About the Museum

Banner ImageWelcome to the Dittrick. We hope to see you soon!

The Dittrick Medical History Center explores the history of medicine through museum artifacts, archives, rare books collections, and images. An interdisciplinary study center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, we are open to the general public and charge no admission. How did the museum come to be? See more on our HISTORY PAGE.

HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday through Friday: 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Wednesday, 9:00 am-7:00pm
Saturday 10:00 am-2:00 pm
Closed on Sundays

GROUP TOURS

Anyone may self-tour the museum for free during open hours. If you would like to schedule a group tour (schools, community groups, etc.) please fill out our form. We limit group tours to 15 people due to space limitations. The tours are appropriate for age 7th grade and older. Tours are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. All tours must be arranged in advance, for more information or to schedule a tour fill out the following form: Tour request form

COLLECTIONS

The Dittrick is home to curious and comprehensive collections: surgical instruments and medical equipment, microscopes, nursing uniforms, historical contraceptive devices, turn of the century x-ray equipment, midwifery manikins and much more. The Blaufox Hall of diagnostic instruments is also one of the most comprehensive of its kind in exploring medical instruments that show the evolving doctor-patient relationship. Housing over 175,000 artifacts, the museum offers a window into the past for visitor and researcher alike.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

The third floor (main gallery displays) offers thematic areas of interest. Hallway cases offer a preview of what illness and treatment looked like in earlier eras, as well as infectious disease crisis and management. Additional displays, including Claude Beck’s cardiac defibrillator, may be found on the second floor of the library. In the principle gallery and the Percy Skuy gallery, visitors encounter:

  • Diagnostic Tools and Medical Education–beginning on the Blaufox balcony gallery and continuing to the standing anatomical model and the 1875 doctor’s office period room.
  • Antiseptic surgery, hospital medicine, and public health–beginning against the rear wall and stretching around the corner to the right–culminating in the post-germ-theory 1920s doctor’s offer.
  • Scientific Technology and Medicine–including static electricity generator, x-ray machine, the iron lung, and other technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
  • History of Reproduction–including the central island birthing chairs, and information about changes in midwifery and obstetrics in the 18th and 19th century.
  • Historic Contraception Devices–located in the Percy Skuy collection (entered through the main gallery or from the hallway) and featuring the history of contraception in America, from folklore to condoms, diaphragms, IUDs and the birth control pill

EVENTS

The Dittrick Museum hosts a number of events per year, many of them free to the public. Two annual lectures focus on relevant then-and-now topics, the CONVERSATIONS series provides a short TED-style talk followed by panel and public round-tables, and MIXERS offer more informal gatherings with discounts for members. Check out Upcoming Events page for details, or become a member to receive email notifications and more benefits!

 

 

Page last modified: July 13, 2017