Skip Navigation Bar

NLM Announces Extension of Exhibition on the History of Horse Veterinary Medicine through January 23, 2012


The National Library of Medicine, the world's largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, is extending through January 23, 2012, the exhibition, From Craft to Profession: The Transition from Horse Farrier to Professional Veterinarian, in the NLM History of Medicine Reading Room, Building 38, on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The public is invited to visit from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Mondays through Fridays, except federal holidays. (See complete list of holidays at: //

This exhibition, which opened in July, showcases original illustrated manuscripts and early printed books from the Library's collections featuring the care and treatment of horses over the past five centuries. 

The year 2011 has been named "World Veterinary Year," in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the first veterinary school in Lyon, France. In 1761, French riding master Claude Bourgelat (1712-1779) founded the first veterinary school, marking the beginning of the scientific study of the horse, eventually replacing the traditional art of farriery. Farriers were often blacksmiths and the equivalent of barber surgeons for horses who learned their trade through apprenticeship. In the century after Bourgelat's school opened, the practice of veterinary medicine became a credentialed profession requiring an academic degree and strict licensing, replacing the old system of farriers and apprenticeships.