Lost Washington: the Army Medical Museum

Army Medical MuseumThe brick Romanesque Revival building originally located at the northwest corner of 7th and Independence, SW, was the successor to the Ford’s Theatre facility. Opened in 1887, it was designed and built to house the Army Medical Museum, the Library of the Surgeon General’s Office, and some of the medical records.

Army Medical Museum. Interior view. First floor west side. Hook worm display.

Army Medical Museum. Interior view. First floor west side. Hook worm display.

Between 1893 and 1910, it also housed the Army Medical School. The Museum and the Library remained in this location until the 1960s, when they were moved to their present separate locations.

Even though the structure had been listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, the Interior Department redefined its status, claiming that the collection of medical specimens within constituted the building’s importance.

Army Medical Museum. Main exhibit hall. 1942.

Army Medical Museum. Main exhibit hall. 1942.

The building was razed in 1969 and replaced by the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The Army Medical Museum evolved into the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, D.C., and the Library of Surgeon General’s Office became the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. (Additionally Photos after the jump)

Interior of Surgeon General's library. After spending decades as the Army Medical Museum & Library, this became the National Library of Medicine.

Interior of Surgeon General's library. After spending decades as the Army Medical Museum & Library, this became the National Library of Medicine.

Army Medical Museum, anatomical exhibit. Washington, DC. 1/25/1920.

Army Medical Museum, anatomical exhibit. Washington, DC. 1/25/1920.

Comparative anatomy, Auzoux model of horse, life size. Specimen no. 2635.

Comparative anatomy, Auzoux model of horse, life size. Specimen no. 2635.

(All images courtesy of the Otis Archives Flickr Photostream)

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2 Responses to “Lost Washington: the Army Medical Museum”

  1. That’s a display about POISONOUS SNAKES in the third picture. Looks exactly like a modern museum!

  2. Wish I could start a medical museum in New Delhi can you help?

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