Mobile was at the center of Alabama’s early medical history and is home to many of the state’s medical firsts. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that Mobile would have sucha fascinating medical history museum.
The Mobile Medical Museum has an extensive collection of medical instruments and equipment, photographs, teaching materials, and letters from the early 1700s on. The over 5,000 artifacts, memorabilia, and archives represent the largest medical collection in the Southeast.
The Mobile Medical Museum collections include the obsolete and the primitive along with more commonplace medical items. Yet even the most bizarre items contributed in some way to the development of the health care we enjoy today. In fact, the museum’s collections help lay bare the evolution of modern medicine.
One of most popular exhibits is a larger-than-life, papier-maché, anatomical model from the Medical College of Mobile. Another startlingly accurate papier-maché model depicts the autonomic nervous system. An iron lung from the polio epidemic of the 1940’s & 50’s is a stark reminder of the power of vaccination. Two skeletons, each more than 120 years old, also garner a lot of attention.
The museum features visiting exhibits alongside it’s permanent ones. Recent guest exhibits included a collection of several eerily life-like, wax models used in the mid-1800’s as tools both for teaching and diagnosis. The current visiting exhibit, “Dreaming at Dawn: African Americans and Health Care, 1865-1945” will be on display through May 2019.
Mobile Medical Museum
1664 Springhill Avenue, Mobile, Alabama 36604
Hours: Tue-Fri – 10am to 4pm, Thu – 10am to 6pm
First Saturday of the month: 1pm to 3pm
If you hope to visit – and you should! – be sure to call and make an appointment. Limited staffing means they cannot always guarantee an open door! (251-415-1109).
The museum was founded in 1962 from the private collection of over 100 artifacts from Dr. James Heustis (1828-1891), a Mobile physician. Over the years, the museum’s collection has expanded and seen a number of different homes. Today, it is housed in the historic, 1827 Vincent Doan Walsh House, the oldest surviving private residence in Mobile. The Vincent Doan Walsh House is located on the campus of the University of Alabama’s Hospital for Women and Children.
Learn more by visiting www.mobilemedicalmuseum.org. You can also follow the museum on Facebook.
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