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  • Current Exhibition in the NLM Rotunda

    Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness, and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. In the exhibition, visitors will discover how Native concepts of health and illness are closely tied to the concepts of community, spirit, and the land. Native Peoples’ healing traditions have rich histories that extend into the distant past. An interactive timeline highlights key events and themes, from antiquity to the present, to help us understand the importance of some of these ongoing traditions. Visitors will also discover the meaning behind the NLM’s Healing Totem and the model of the Hōkūle‘a voyaging canoe.

  • Current Exhibition in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room

    Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions explores some of the factors that have shaped the changing definition of some of our most potent drugs. This special display, featured in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room, showcases rare books and ephemera from the collection of the National Library of Medicine, historic artifacts from the National Museum of American History, and photographs from the Library of Congress. The show is open to the public Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm August 27, 2012 to April 12, 2013.

    Mind-altering drugs have been used throughout the history of America. While some remain socially acceptable, such as alcohol, others, like heroin and cocaine, are now outlawed because of their toxic, and intoxicating, characteristics. These classifications have shifted at different times in history, and they will continue to change.

    The transformation of a particular drug, from an acceptable indulgence or medical treatment to a bad habit, or vice versa, is closely tied to the intentions and their status in society of those endorsing its use. Yet these substances have often served the same ends whether administered for prescription or for pleasure—to treat pain and illness, to ease the hardships of work and daily life, or to feed an addiction.

    For a tour of the special display, please contact: or call 301.594.1947.

  • Traveling Exhibitions

    The Exhibition Program at the National Library of Medicine provides traveling exhibition services to libraries across the United States. Exhibitions are based on original scholarly research and address a wide range of topics related to the social and cultural history of science, medicine, and technology. Browse the list of traveling exhibitions to learn more about the format, content, and availability.

  • Online Exhibitions and Digital Projects

    View NLM online exhibitions and digitized projects, including digitized material from historical collections.
    All Exhibitions by Subject     All Exhibitions by Date

  • Recent Acquisitions

    Treasures recently added to NLM historical collections are displayed in exhibit cases in the History of Medicine Reading Room.

  • Bronze Busts of Maimonides, Jenner, and Pasteur

    Bronze portrait busts of three giants of medicine are mounted on pedestals at the rear of the History of Medicine Reading Room. Sculptor Karen Leigh created the busts. Dr. Sheldon Cohen commissioned the trio and donated them to the Library.

  • Medals of Great Personages in the History of Medicine

    Bronze medals depicting 20 important figures in the history of medicine are on display in a vertical case in the History of Medicine Reading Room. Sculpted by Abram Belski and commissioned and donated to the Library by Dr. Sheldon Cohen, the medals depict such luminaries as Ambrose Paré, William Harvey, and Andreas Vesalius.

  • Turning the Pages (TTP)

    At the Turning the Pages kiosk in the History of Medicine Reading Room cloak room, visitors can "turn the pages" of Elizabeth Blackwell's A Curious Herbal, a beautifully illustrated 18th century book of medicinal plants. You can also veiw the online version of Turning the Pages.

  • Objects of Art in the National Library of Medicine

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