The National Museum of Health and
Museums play a vital role in public education, awareness,
and understanding. The National Museum of Health and Medicine
(NMHM) has a particularly long history of serving the public
in this capacity in its 142-year tenure as the nation's only
medical museum. In fact, the NMHM's specimens and artifacts
were the first museum collection in the country and are currently
the only in Washington, D.C. to be registered by the U.S. Department
of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark. Since it's
founding, the museum has remained dedicated to documenting
the evolution of health and medical issues in American society,
and to sharing its collections with as many people as possible.
NMHM offers a variety of public programs and tours to accomplish
this goal. Programs like health fairs, film screenings, behind-the
scenes tours, and historical and scientific lectures, are aimed
at adults and children and take place on weekends, weekdays,
Docent-guided tours are available for students 5th grade and
older with reservations needed four to six weeks in advance.
The museum's exhibits include many interactive displays that
allow visitors to become more engaged in the material presented.
In addition to being available to
school groups, docent-led tours are offered to walk-in visitors
at 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.
The tours highlight the exhibition, "To Bind Up the Nation's Wounds: Medicine
During the Civil War." Visitors receive the opportunity
to experience Civil War medicine through the eyes of battlefield
surgeons and the sick and wounded Union and Confederate personnel,
as well learn about the state of medicine during this time.
Some of the museum's most highly
attended programs are its monthly health fairs. NMHM hosts
a free "National Health
Awareness Kickoff" program from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the
first Saturday of every month, where a different health issue
is covered. Medical professionals are usually on site to discuss
early detection and prevention options with museum visitors.
There are also screening areas to have body fat analysis, blood
pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol checked. Reservations
for these programs should be made at least a day in advance
by calling 202-782-2200.
Upcoming programs at the museum include National Kidney Month
and National Foot Health Awareness Month. For more information
about the museum's public programs, please visit www.nmhm.washingtondc.museum/events/events.html.#
Janet M. Burns is Chief, Public Programs, NMHM.