Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness, and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. In the exhibition, visitors will discover how Native concepts of health and illness are closely tied to the concepts of community, spirit, and the land. Native Peoples’ healing traditions have rich histories that extend into the distant past. An interactive timeline highlights key events and themes, from antiquity to the present, to help us understand the importance of some of these ongoing traditions. Visitors will also discover the meaning behind the NLM’s Healing Totem and the model of the Hōkūle‘a voyaging canoe.
Current Exhibition in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room
Microbes—tiny organisms too small to be seen with the naked eye have altered human history. Life forms such as bacteria, yeasts, and molds can cause sickness or restore health, and help produce foods and beverages. Scientists, in partnership with industry, have developed techniques to harness the powers of these microbes. In recent years, headline-grabbing technologies have used genetically modified bacteria to manufacture new medicines. Drawing from the collections of the National Museum of American History and the National Library of Medicine, From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry seeks to explore some of the processes, problems, and potential inherent in technologies that use life.
The online exhibition features educational resources in the 'Learn More' section: an interactive gallery of images from the exhibition, accompanied by information to help learners explore in more depth.
The Exhibition Program at the National Library of Medicine provides traveling exhibition services to libraries across the United States. Exhibitions are based on original scholarly research and address a wide range of topics related to the social and cultural history of science, medicine, and technology. Browse the list of traveling exhibitions to learn more about the format, content, and availability.
Treasures recently added to NLM historical collections are displayed in exhibit cases in the History of Medicine Reading Room.
Bronze Busts of Maimonides, Jenner, and Pasteur
Bronze portrait busts of three giants of medicine are mounted on pedestals at the rear of the History of Medicine Reading Room. Sculptor Karen Leigh created the busts. Dr. Sheldon Cohen commissioned the trio and donated them to the Library.
Medals of Great Personages in the History of Medicine
Bronze medals depicting 20 important figures in the history of medicine are on display in a vertical case in the History of Medicine Reading Room. Sculpted by Abram Belski and commissioned and donated to the Library by Dr. Sheldon Cohen, the medals depict such luminaries as Ambrose Paré, William Harvey, and Andreas Vesalius.
Turning the Pages (TTP)
At the Turning the Pages kiosk in the History of Medicine Reading Room cloak room, visitors can "turn the pages" of Elizabeth Blackwell's A Curious Herbal, a beautifully illustrated 18th century book of medicinal plants. You can also veiw the online version of Turning the Pages.