Health & Medicine
The Museum's collections of medical science artifacts represent nearly all aspects of health and medical practice. Highlights include early X-ray apparatuses, such as one of Wilhelm Roentgen's tubes, penicillin mold from Alexander Fleming’s experiments, and Jonas Salk's original polio vaccine. More recent acquisitions include the first artificial heart implanted in a human, the earliest genetically engineered drugs, and materials related to David, the "Bubble Boy." Other artifacts range from artificial limbs and implant devices to bloodletting and dental instruments, beauty products, and veterinary equipment. The contents of a medieval apothecary shop and an 1890s drugstore form part of the collections, along with patent and alternative medicines. The collections also document the many differing perspectives on health and medical issues, from patients, family members, doctors, nurses, medical students, and out-of-the-mainstream health practitioners.
"Health & Medicine - Overview" showing 1731 items.
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- Description (Brief)
- Midwives have been helping deliver babies for millennia. Midwives in the early 20th century, with the advent of big-city hospitals continued to serve the needs of immigrants and rural American women.
- The owner of this midwife kit was Rosa Bonfanto. Rosa was from Palermo, Sicily, and immigrated to the United States in 1922, settling first in Buffalo, NY, and later in Albany. Her satchel and its contents, along with her story are shrouded in mystery. Rosa's grandson, Joseph Badlotto, writes in a brief statement that according to family lore, Rosa had an affair in Sicily with Carlo Chirchirillo (the donor's natural grandfather). Born of that affair in 1918 was a baby girl, named Mary (the donor's mother). Carlos and his wife, Felicia, raised the child, and in 1920 immigrated to the United States. Rosa followed about two years later posing as the child's godmother. Years passed before the truth about Mary's parentage became known.
- Rectangular booklet of 25 forms documenting problematic births. The booklet has tan sheets of thick paper in front and back and thin white sheets with black printing inside. The leaves are perforated at 1/3 the width of sheet. The booklet was part of a midwife's kit from Buffalo, NY about 1920.
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center