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
Fall 2015 Newsletter
Dogged Persistance by Dr. Marc Asher
Medicine in the First World War:
Click here to read Medical Care during the First World War - A Special Virtual Issue with an Excerpt from Wounded 

Upcoming Events
Thursday, December 3rd
The Don Carlos and Alice V. Peete Lecture
Reception 4:00pm, Clendening Foyer, 1000 Robinson
Lecture 4:30pm, Clendening Auditorium, 2004 Robinson
Arthur Daemmrich, PhD
The University of Kansas Medical Center /
The Smithsonian Institute
"Vulnerable Subjects, Vulnerable Knowledge:
Scientific and Organizational Uncertainty in Children's Chemical Testing Programs"

Current Exhibit in the Clendening History of Medicine Museum: On February 18, 1949 the honorable Frank Carlson, governor of the State of Kansas, signed the bill, "Rural Health Program for Kansas." The purpose was to allow more medical professionals to be trained to alleviate a shortage in the state. This bill gained national prominence and became a model for other states. Accompanying this exhibit are images from the Kansas Rural Health Photography Contest held each year through KUMC's Rural Health Education and Services Department. 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.