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.
The Museum will be closed May 7th through June 2nd.
COVID policy: Case Western Reserve University visitor policies are followed throughout the Allen Memorial building. For current policy see: https://case.edu/covid19/health-safety/visitor-policy.
The galleries are a self-guided experience. We are not scheduling tours at this time.
The Dittrick is home to 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
We host two annual lectures the Anton and Rose Zverina Lecture in the fall and the Percy Skuy lectue in spring. We have the Castele Gallery in which we feature temporary exhibits that change one two tree times each year. Check out Upcoming Events page for details on lectures and exhibits.