Clendening History of Medicine Museum

The Clendening History of Medicine Museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts illustrating healing and medicine across historical time and through the variety of human cultures. The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve, study, and exhibit materials that advance our knowledge of medicine, encompassing healing practices across the full span of human history. These collections trace their origin to the passionate effort of Dr. Ralph Major, the first chair of the Department of the History and Philosophy of Medicine, who followed the footsteps of the Department's founder, Logan Clendening and who has been succeeded by a series of physician-collectors from Dr. Leroy Calkins to Dr. Tony Kovac and Dr Marc Asher. All have hoped to leave a legacy of historical materials for the appreciation of our visitors.

Among the strengths of the collection are instruments from nineteenth- and twentieth-century American medicine, with a special emphasis on medical practice in Kansas. Materials illustrative of the ancient, medieval and early modern eras include notable collections of Etruscan, Roman, Babylonian, Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, and pre-Columbian artifacts. Pieces of exceptional artistic value include original paintings and lithographs and Japanese and Chinese woodblock prints and scrolls. Focused collections have been independently developed illustrating American Civil War medicine, the medicine of World War I and World War II, and twentieth-century anesthesiology.

The curators of the museum regularly feature exhibits in the foyer of the Clendening Library drawn from the Museum's extensive collections, as well as collaborative exhibits celebrating the KU Medical Center's Diversity Initiative. Recent exhibits, often developed in partnership with the KUMC Archives, have included: the history of surgery at the KU School of Medicine, Native American culture and healing, the history of anesthesia in Kansas, Civil War medicine, a history of the KU School of Nursing, Chinese medicine, the integration of the KU School of Medicine, and a display of works by disabled artists from the region. The museum also mounts a variety of traveling exhibits that it makes available in other venues.

Last modified: Jul 10, 2013
News and Events

Upcoming Events
Conference on the History of Rural Medicine April 6 - 7, 2015
Fall 2014 Newsletter
Medicine in the First World War: http://www.kumc.edu/wwi.html
Click here to read Medical Care during the First World War - A Special Virtual Issue with an Excerpt from Wounded 

                                                                                    

 Guffey Prize in the History of Medicine Winner
The winner of the Guffey Prize in the History of Medicine this year is Brady Lonergan
for his paper on "The Role in Medical Care of the Medieval Orthodox Church in Byzantium." 
This prize is given yearly by the Department of the History and Philosophy of Medicine to a
graduating student for exceptional work in the history of medicine.

For this project Mr. Lonergan sifted through a large collection of primary historical materials
bearing on the question of medical care in this ancient context. The evidence from this distant
culture remains complex and difficult to interpret, requiring cautious interpretation. In his final
analysis of the evidence, Mr. Lonergan presented a lucid and informative picture of medicine
and healing in a land now largely forgotten. We commend Brady Lonergan for his careful work
in understanding the art of healing in this unfamiliar cultural setting, and in a society that established
a basis for practices and beliefs with persisting influence in the modern world.

Current Exhibit
"A Triumph of American Medicine: William Gorgas, Ancon Hospital and The Panama Canal"
The exhibit is available Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5 p.m., Clendening Library foyer, 1000 Robinson.
For more information, contact Nancy Hulston at 913-588-7243.
The exhibit is sponsored by the History and Philosophy of Medicine Department, KU Medical Center, and the University of Kansas Endowment Association.

 

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