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What We're Doing: NLM Traveling Exhibits at Northwestern University


Have you heard of the NLM traveling exhibits? Perhaps you've hosted one. Did you know they're a great way to combine history and medicine in your library?

At the Northwestern University's Galter Health Sciences Library we've been making the most of the NLM traveling exhibits by selecting historically themed exhibits and hosting complimentary lecturers and displays for a truly interdisciplinary experience for students, faculty, staff, and other visitors to the library. (Publicity about the opening events are sent to the local health sciences library community.)

In November and December we hosted the NLM traveling exhibit 'Every Necessary Care and Attention:' George Washington and Medicine. The traveling display was housed in the library’s atrium. A companion exhibit featured books and artifacts from the library’s Special Collections, entitled The State of Medicine at the Start of the Nation. To kick off the exhibit, the library hosted a special noontime lecture by Dr. Kelly Wisecup, assistant professor, Department of English and programs in American Studies and Science and Human Culture, Northwestern University entitled: Medicine at Home: Early American Botanical Colonization and Native American Herbal Resistance.

This past March and April the traveling exhibit Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons was housed in the library’s atrium and for a time it was moved to a nearby research building’s lobby. The library created a poster entitled Celebrating Diversity in Academic Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. An afternoon opening event featured remarks by Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Clyde Yancy, MD, and the reception included surgeons featured in the library’s poster. A companion library display case was placed near the traveling display and featured historic photographs as well as thematic artifacts. It was entitled: Explore the Past to Understand the Present and Shape the Future: Celebrating Some of Northwestern’s Alumni Trailblazers and Pioneers. (The library also participated with a poster in an earlier visit of this exhibit to campus in 2008 when it was hosted by other departments.)

Earlier, in 2014, the Galter Health Sciences Library hosted the NLM traveling exhibit, 'And there’s the humor of it:' Shakespeare and the four humors. Reservations are in place and plans are underway for hosting NLM traveling exhibits in 2017 and beyond. The next traveling exhibit, Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War, will be on-site in May 2017.

The NLM traveling exhibit program continues to be popular since it offers all types of libraries and other organizations the opportunity to tie in displays of locally held historical books and artifacts, host events, and invite speakers. How have others used the traveling exhibits to highlight medical history and create cross-disciplinary interest? 

Want to know more about the NLM’s exhibit program? You can find more information here:

-Ramune Kubilius

Galter Health Sciences Library
Northwestern University

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