Past Exhibits

New Additions to the Historical Collections – Medals

The medical medals featured on the display had been recently discovered in the forgotten reference file. They were the missing part of our collection of medical and scientific medals and complement our permanent online exhibit (June – November 2021)

The display case in the lobby featured new books, manuscripts and audiovisual materials donated to our special collections by SOM alumni and library’s friends in 2020 (on display September 2020 – May 2021)

The display case featured the mysterious medical instruments from our uncatalogued special collection with a challenge for visitors to the library. The mini contest to properly identify the old instruments was promoted also on our social media (November 2019 - January 2020)

The display accompanied the main exhibit Art of the Brain (March - May 2019). It featured an atlas of the human brain by Georg Schaltenbrand and Percival Bailey Einführung in die stereotaktischen Operationen, mit einem Atlas des menschlichen Gehirns (Stuttgart 1959)

The front lobby display case was part of the larger exhibit Scientists as Artists Reprise hosted on the upper floor of the library (December 2018- January 2019)

Exhibit explained the milestones of cataract treatment. The timeline was illustrated with reprints of works, which were historically important and essential for the development of modern surgical procedures (on display August – September 2018).

Exhibit presented a set of drawings of medical costumes by Swiss artist and illustrator, Warja Honegger-Lavater (on display April - July 2018).

The exhibit told the story of the leper colony of Molokai, which exemplified a cruel model of disease control based on fear and lack of understanding, in which those afflicted were forcefully separated from their families and isolated by exiling them to the remote Hawaiian island (on display January – March 2018).

The display marked 153rd anniversary of forming the X Club -  a group of men who shaped the science and cultural climate in England in the second half of 19th century. It presented the works and the achievements of all nine members: Thomas Henry Huxley, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, John Tyndall, Herbert Spencer, Sir Edward Frankland, George Busk, Thomas Archer Hirst, Sir John Lubbock and William Spottiswoode (on display November-December 2017)

The display accompanied the exhibit Transgender Health Care, Words Matter: Gender Identity & Gender Expression (September- October 2017), and it highlighted historical materials held in the HSLS collections. Contents of the display case.

The display focused on Falk Library's efforts to document the Scope & Scalpel's history by collecting, preserving and digitizing materials from past productions. It accompanied the exhibit As the Years Go By: Scope & Scalpel Retrospective on display during May-August, 2017.

The exhibit presented selected posters and video clips from sixty-three years of Scope & Scalpel productions (on display May-August 2017). Read more

White’s stereoscope and selected atlases from the Falk Library’s collections were on display.

The exhibit presented changing ideas related to infant care in 19th and 20th centuries.

The exhibit showcases books from the Rare Book and Special Collections related to four deadly epidemics of the past: small pox, cholera, Spanish flu and plague.

The display accompanied the traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine Surviving & Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture presented in the library in January and February 2017.

The Ultimate Service Pin: a History of Nursing, was on loan to the library from a private collector. It featured nursing pins and coins. It told the history of nursing through the prism of numismatic items. Originally, Dawn McBride, the author, prepared this exhibit for and showed at the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists 2016 spring show. Later that year it was presented in the Falk Library. It run from September 2016 through the beginning of January 2017.

This exhibit showcases the Falk Library copy of Gutenberg Biblia Sacra - a facsimile printed in the United States in1961 from the 1913-1914 Leipzig facsimile made by Insel Verlag, which was based on the two most beautifully illuminated copies from the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin and the Standischen Landesbibliothek in Fulda

The term Americana describes artifacts related to the history or cultural heritage of the Unites States. A book falls into this category if it is published in the United States or it is about the country, or is created by American author, or has some ties to the United States. Therefore, the earliest dental Americana known is a book Practical observations on the human teeth by Robert Wooffendale (1783) presented in this exhibit in a context of other early American works in dentistry from the Falk Library's collection.

This exhibit provides examples of 19th and early 20th century books containing flap anatomies. These hinged, colorful, paper flap overlays depict anatomy in three-dimensional form. The body’s interior is revealed by lifting subsequent flaps, for example, from the torso inward through muscles, organs, and ending at the spine. The exhibit is on display from April through May 2016

The exhibit presented two of the earliest medical texts from Egypt dated back to 1600-1550 BC - Ebers Papyrus and Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus - in the facsimile editions of 1875 and 1930. On display from October 2015 to January 2016.

The exhibit, inspired by Paul De Kruif’s book with the same title published in New York in 1926, presents achievements of sixteen researchers whose discoveries have pushed forward the work in the microbiology field to the new levels: from discovery of bacteria in 1674 by Anton van Leeuwenhoek to creation of effective treatment for syphilis by Paul Ehrlich in 1910.

The display accompanied the traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine From DNA To Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine & Industry presented in the library in September and October 2015.

The exhibit illustrates the major steps in the polio research with books from the library's collections, from the first description of the polio disease to the successful vaccine discovery and eradication of the illness in the United States.

As a prelude to the online exhibit of medals the display is focused on four men famous in the area of public health: Rudolph Virchow, Max von Pettenkoffer, Giovanni Rasori and David Hosack. Each of men is represented by his works and a medal extracted from our numismatic collection.

The exhibit is a game, in which the quotations from Shakespeare’s plays were matched with medical books of his time to illustrate his medical knowledge. All the texts presented are housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections and deal with the subject referenced by Shakespeare. And for each book, we pose a rhetorical question “Could he have known this work?”

The display accompanied the traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine And There's the Humor of It: Shakespeare and the Four Humors presented in the library in October 2014.

This exhibit presents works on animal magnetism, a healing system devised by Franz Anton Mesmer, published in 1781-1826, including a very scarce pamphlet by physician known only by his last name, Brack. The bibliographical information about the books is complemented by a slide show of images related to the practice of animal magnetism displayed on a plasma screen above the display case.

The exhibit celebrates one of the most important and compendious works of 17th century literature and science, Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy by presenting several editions from our collections. The oldest one, 4th edition (London 1632) published during Robert Burton’s life is showcased virtually on the screen above.

The exhibit presents the eighteen century French translation of an early poem on syphilis by Girolamo Fracastoro, Syphilis, sive morbus gallicus (1530) among other later editions of this popular work from our collections.

The display accompanies the National Library of Medicine traveling exhibit Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War and presents information about woman's work and engagement in the Civil War.

Exhibit presents a selection of rare and popular works in a pocket book format from the Falk Library collections promoting care and proper hygiene of teeth, including the work by the "father of oral hygiene" - Robert Bunon. It also advertises some famous and significant works in dentistry by Arcolani, Eustachi, Fauchard, Skinner and Harris held in our Rare Book Room.

Exhibit presents works of Robert Liston (1794-1847), Scottish pioneer in surgery, who performed the first operation under the modern anaesthesia and shows a commemorative medal struck in his honor which was awarded annually by the University College in London for achievements and original observations in surgery.

During his years in China, Burma and India Lt. Col. J. A. Mendelson, a veteran of the WWI, a member of the United States Military Mission to China, and at one time an assistant professor of Military Science and Tactics at University of Pittsburgh collected many interesting objects related to the cultures of countries where he served. Five early Chinese texts he brought from his trips were donated to Falk Library.

The mini collection of the early Chinese books includes three rare books by Chen Shigong (1617), Dou Hanqing (1717), Li Shizhen (1784) and two 19th century texts by Gao Wenjin (1856) and Chen Huichou (1878) covering subjects of surgery, blood circulation, blood vessels, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. One outstanding title is Bencao Gangmu (本草綱目), also known as Compendium of materia medica written in the Ming Dynasty. This 18th century reprint from the original 1590 edition is regarded as the most complete and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine. It lists all the plants, animals, minerals, and other items that were believed to have medicinal properties. The oldest book in the group is Xin kan Wai ke zheng zong (外科正宗, a compendium on external diseases in traditional Chinese medicine) published in 1617. Read more in HSLS Update

Before the advent of modern medicine, physicians and scholars had, by our modern standards, odd treatments for curing their patients. One of the most popular methods of healing was through changes in temperature, especially the use of heat. While their theories of “sweating out” a disease sound bizarre to us, these procedures were the top-of-the-line treatments in their time. So while the cold Pittsburgh winter kept us inside, Falk Library presented a display on medicinal uses of heat as advised by our ancestors.

The works chosen for the exhibit illustrate the use of hot waters (Wynter, John. An essay on Chronical Diseases, the methods of cure and…of the medicinal waters of Bath and Bristol. London, 1725), promote the Russian Vapor Bath (Gill, John B. A new and successful method of treating all forms of rheumatism and gout. London,1880), discuss the concept of "sweating out" a deadly disease (Moore, James Carrick. History of the small pox. London, 1815) or traveling to warmer climates for the cure of consumption (Gregory, James. A dissertation on the influences of a change of climate in curing diseases. Philadelphia, 1815 and Morton, Samuel George. Illustrations of pulmonary consumption: its anatomical characters causes, symptoms and treatment. Philadelphia, 1837)

An exhibit depicting some of the men who gave their names to known disorders and diseases through the books in our History of Medicine collections. Read more in HSLS Update

Beginning with the decoration of teeth as one of the earliest functions of dentistry, the exhibit uses parallels between jewellers and dentists to draw viewers attention to some of the rare and unusual dentistry books in our collections. Read more in HSLS Update

Exhibit illustrates the progress of public health and hygiene studies through the books in our non-circulating History of Medicine collections. Read more in HSLS Update