The natural resources collections offer centuries of evidence about how Americans have used the bounty of the American continent and coastal waters. Artifacts related to flood control, dam construction, and irrigation illustrate the nation's attempts to manage the natural world. Oil-drilling, iron-mining, and steel-making artifacts show the connection between natural resources and industrial strength.
Forestry is represented by saws, axes, a smokejumper's suit, and many other objects. Hooks, nets, and other gear from New England fisheries of the late 1800s are among the fishing artifacts, as well as more recent acquisitions from the Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay. Whaling artifacts include harpoons, lances, scrimshaw etchings in whalebone, and several paintings of a whaler's work at sea. The modern environmental movement has contributed buttons and other protest artifacts on issues from scenic rivers to biodiversity.
Ship's Surgical Kit
- Description (Brief)
- This wooden surgical case with brass fittings has three main compartments, one of which is a tray that lifts out from the lower case. The interior of the case is molded so that each instrument has its own compartment. The entire interior is lined with purple velvet. The exterior of the lid has an oval escutcheon which is marked, "U.S.A./ Hosp. Dept." The set includes 45 instruments, three of which are not original to the set. At least six instruments are missing, including four knives and a bandage scissors.
- During the Civil War the United States Army contracted with several surgical instrument makers, including Herman Hernstein to provide surgical sets for the Union troops.
- As a young boy in Germany Hermann Hernstein was apprenticed to a surgical instrument maker. He came to the United States in 1841 and settled in New York City. Within a few years, he had established his own shop.
- According to Edmonson much of Hernstein’s inventory was imported from Europe.
- Surgical kits were not required on merchant vessels, but the larger and better-equipped ships often carried them. These were used for everything from pulling teeth to the amputation of limbs, and everything in between. Like the medicine chests, these kits too were often sold with simple pamphlets, with instructions and diagrams on how to use them in emergencies. The captain or first mate most commonly carried out any needed procedures.
- date made
- Hermann Hernstein & Son
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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