National Museum of Health and Medicine: Silver Spring, MD

A Visitor's Guide to the National Medical Museum

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The National Museum of Health and Medicine promotes the understanding of medicine with a special emphasis on tri-service American military medicine. The museum was founded in 1862 as the Army Medical Museum and has had many homes and names in Washington, DC. The closing of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus in NW Washington, DC prompted the relocation of the musem to Silver Spring, Maryland in 2012.

The exhibits showcase objects that focus on topics including innovations in military medicine, traumatic brain injury, anatomy and pathology, and military medicine during the Civil War. Special exhibits highlight the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (including the bullet that killed him) and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Army Medical Museum. Guided tours are available for groups of students in grades 5 and up. Advance Reservations are required.

Exhibit Highlights

  • Advances in Military Medicine - The exhibit features several topics related to innovations and challenges overcome by military medicine during the past 200 years. Artifacts include the floor of an Air Force tent hospital that had been in service in Iraq for four years, a presentation of advances in surgical kits and facial reconstruction and innovations in protecting, repairing, and rehabilitating the wounded service member. The Object Theater includes ten objects that are paired with video presentations that serve as testimonials to unique challenges or innovations in and throughout military medicine.
  • Civil War Medicine - The exhibit includes skeletal remains and wet tissue specimens, surgical kits and other medical tools, examples of prosthetics and models showing efforts at medical evacuation during the war. Additional items include the right arm of Captain Henry Wirz, known for his time as commander of the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville; a steamer trunk that belonged to renowned nurse Dorothea Dix; a pocket surgical kit that belonged to Mary Walker, the first woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor; the lower right leg of Major General Daniel E. Sickles, a perennial favorite at the Museum; the skull of a soldier of the revered 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, one of the war's first entirely black regiments; and a 40-foot wide hospital garrison flag.
  • AnatLab – The virtual anatomy laboratory for medical education provides a web-based environment that allows users user to navigate through human anatomy, using a knowledge base of more than 700,000 annotations covering more than 2,500 different named anatomical structures.

Location

2500 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, Maryland. Parking is free in a lot directly located off of Linden Lane. The museum is located several miles north of Downtown Washington DC in Montgomery County, Maryland. The Forest Glen Metro Station is one mile from the museum. From the Capital Beltway (I-495) go west to exit 31 for MD-97/Georgia Avenue toward Silver Spring/Wheaton. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for MD-97 S. Turn left onto MD-97 S/Georgia Ave. Take the 3rd right onto Seminary Road. Continue onto Linden Lane. The Museum will be on the left.

Hours

Open daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Closed only on December 25 

Website: www.medicalmuseum.mil

Looking for more things to do in the area? See, Top 8 Things to Do in Silver Spring