“Health, Healing & Addiction in 19th Century America” April 8 - October 17

Admission is included with the purchase of a guided tour ticket. For an in-depth exploration of this new exhibition, please consider visiting us for an Exhibit & House Tour. For an extended house tour, which includes the 2nd floor bedroom suites, family room, Servants’ Quarters, and an overview of this new exhibition, please consider visiting us for a House Tour.

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Detail of Dr. Kilmer and Co.’s medicine advertisement, c. 1889, University of Rochester

The Museum will explore the birth of modern medicine and its scientific breakthroughs with a new exhibition titled, Health, Healing & Addiction in 19th Century America.

This exploration will feature rare artifacts, instruments, costumes and photographs, drawn from those once owned by the Lockwood and Mathews families, as well as loans from major private collections and public institutions.

Displays will include such notable, nationally regarded collections as those of Dr. Donald Blaufox, Professor and University Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Curator of MoHMA, and Chris Foard of The Foard Collection of Civil War Nursing, whose rare artifacts will be on view for the first time in the State of Connecticut and have been shown in major U.S. museums, including the National Gallery in Washington D.C. Mr. Foard was an advisor to the PBS series Mercy Street.

Public collection loans will include artifacts from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York as well as several institutions in Connecticut including the Greenwich Historical Society, Norwalk Public Library, Norwalk Historical Society, Wilton Historical Society, Westport Public Art Collections, Bethel Public Library, Kent Historical Society, and Old Saybrook Historical Society to name a few.

Binocular microscope manufactured by Henry Crouch, 1870, courtesy of The M. Donald Blaufox, M.D., Ph.D. Collection, Museum of Historical Medical Artifacts

The exhibition will investigate what history can teach us about the Germ Theory, Civil War and its medical legacy, changes in nutrition and self-care, and the extraordinary breakthroughs in technology that rocked the medical establishment leading to the birth of modern medicine and public health.

This exploration will also bring to light unconventional treatments and rising addiction rates, which were pervasive in the 19th century through the widespread access of popular and unregulated, over-the-counter “remedies” promising pain relief and improved health. 

John Harley Warner, award-winning author and Avalon Professor of the History of Medicine at Yale University, served as the expert advisor for the exhibition, Health, Healing & Addiction in 19th Century America, which will be curated by Kathleen Motes Bennewitz and generously sponsored in part by CT Humanities.

Sponsored in part by: 

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Click here to view the introduction preview