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Guide to Collections Relating to the History of Artificial Internal Organs

respository

National Museum of American History, Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution



address

14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC 20560-0627


Telephone

(202) 357-2145


Fax Number

(202) 357-1853


Website

americanhistory.si.edu



Contact Person

Judy Chelnick, Museum Specialist, Division of Science, Medicine and Society


email

chelnickj@nmah.si.edu



Access and Services

An appointment is necessary to view collections. Museum hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily



Abstract

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, Behring Center dedicates its collections to Scientific, technological and cultural objects and scholarship to inspiring a broader understanding of our nation and its many peoples. The museum creates leaning opportunities, stimulates imaginations, and presents challenging ideas about our country's past. The Museum's Division of Science, Medicine & Society preserves and interprets the rich material legacy of the biological, medical, and physical sciences, and houses one of the largest and most significant collections of medical artifacts in the world. The medical sciences collection, which numbers over 80,000 objects and growing, dates back to 1881 and includes many types of objects such as instruments, tools, equipment, devices, furnishings, clothing , containers, medicines, chemicals, prototypes, and models which help document the development and evolution of health care, biomedical sciences, and medical practice in the United States. These objects are supplemented by trade catalogues, posters, advertising literature, business and manufacturing records, and audiovisual and manuscript material.




Collections


title/date

Artificial Organs Collection, 1935-1998



Collection ID


Quantity

Approximately 150 objects



Biographical Note

The first so-called artificial organ collected for the Smithsonian was the Dodrill-GMR mechanical heart from the Research Laboratory Division of the General Motors Corporation in 1954. The Lindbergh-Carrel perfusion pump and the Sewell heart pump for bypassing the right side of a dog's heart arrived in the early 1960's. These three artifacts became the nucleus of the first exhibition on the history of the artificial heart at the Smithsonian.

The decades of the 1960's and 1970's were a time of prolific experimentation in the field of internal artificial organs. The Smithsonian became the recipient of this experimental bounty. The museum received pacemakers, ventricular assist devices, artificial kidneys, and artificial hearts. In 1987, the first totally implantable artificial heart approved as a bridge to transplantation was presented to the museum. Recently we collected three cochlear implants and a tremor control device that once implanted into the patient's brain is designed to help control symptoms of Parkinson's disease.



Collection Description

The Smithsonian collection represents the very beginning of the successful use of internal artificial organs. Our goal is to continue to selectively collect internal artificial organs. Presently, the collection includes:

  • Artificial eyes, glass
  • Artificial eyes, acrylic, The Milton Wurtz Collection
  • Artificial heart, NIH totally implantable,1969
  • Artificial heart, first implanted in a human,1969
  • Artificial Heart, Jarvik 7, implanted 1985
  • Artificial kidney, Kolff-Brigham, 1949
  • Artificial limbs, including arms, feet, hands and legs
  • Artificial veins and arteries, Dupont, 1987
  • Catheters, various types
  • Dialysis monitor, Strong-Lasher, 1965
  • Electrodes, pacemaker, various types
  • Heart-Lung Machine, Sarnes, Inc., 1983
  • Heart Pacer, Bendix, circa 1965
  • Heart valve, Bjork-Shiley
  • Heart valve, Hufnagel, floating disk, circa 1960
  • Heart valves, Hufnagel, circa 1940's
  • Heart valve, St. Jude's
  • Intra-aortic balloon pump, Kantrowitz, circa 1965-1969
  • Intra corporeal pump, Liotta-Hall, circa 1963
  • Iron Lungs: Drinker, 3rd model; Emerson 1931; Pediatric
  • Left ventricular assist device, DeBakey
  • Membrane Oxygenator, Kolobow Type, Dow Corning, 1968
  • Oxygenator, Shiley Inc., 1983
  • Pacemaker, Chardack-Greatbatch
  • Pacemaker, Omni-Stanicor, Lithium Powered, Cordis, c. 1979
  • Pacemaker, Omni-Stanicor, Programmable, Cordis, c. 1979
  • Pacemaker, Multi-Programmable, Medtronic, circa 1989
  • Pacemaker, Dual chamber, Rate Responsive, Medtronic, 1998
  • Pacemaker, Pivoting Disc, Lillehei-Kaster, 1981
  • Pacemaker, Starr-Edwards Model 2400, 1981
  • Pacemaker, Starr-Edwards Model 6520, 1981
  • Pacemaker, Hall-Kaster Model M7700, 1981


Finding Aid

Inventory listing available from Smithsonian Collections database. Consult Museum Specialist.



Restrictions

None



Related Material

Supporting documentation, includes reprints and film.




title/date

Willem J. Kolff Collection, 1943-1995



Collection ID


Quantity

Approximately 225 objects



Biographical Note

Willem J. Kolff (born 1911) was a distinguished professor of medicine and surgery at the University of Utah. He used his skills as an entrepreneur, researcher, inventor and writer to become known as the "Father of Artificial Organs." In 1950, Kolff and his family immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands where he had already invented the artificial kidney and dialysis technique. Then, he worked in the Research Department and the Department of Surgery of the Cleveland Clinic to improve the artificial kidney, develop the heart and lung machine, and invent the first total artificial heart. In 1967, he moved to Utah to direct the Division of Artificial Organs and the Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBE) at the University of Utah. There, Kolff was in charge of teams working to develop further his previous inventions, as well as teams to develop the artificial eye, artificial hearing, artificial arm, and the subcutaneous peritoneal access device. During his life, he received more than 100 awards and published more than 600 articles.



Collection Description

The Smithsonian acquired the Kolff Collection in February 1998, and objects in the collection reflect the range of Dr. Kolff's research activities during his career. A select listing of some of these objects include:

  • Rotating Drum artificial kidney
  • Twin Coil artificial kidney
  • Wearable artificial kidney
  • Heart-lung machine
  • Kwan-Gett heart
  • Total electrohydraulic heart
  • Flow-through LVAD
  • Teflon artificial heart
  • Molds for LVADs, RVADs and heart valves
  • Axial flow pump


Finding Aid

Inventory listing available from Smithsonian Collections database. Consult Museum Specialist.



Restrictions

None



Related Material

Supporting documentation including five archival boxes, two large ring binders, photos and slides.