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Visiting the National Museum of Health and Medicine

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

On July 22, 2017 we traveled to Silver Spring, Maryland and one of our stops was the National Museum of Health and Medicine. What an amazing museum with some very interesting artifacts, and the best part, it was free.

Located at 2500 Linden Ln, Silver Spring, MD 20910, the National Museum of Health and Medicine is a museum in Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington, DC.

The museum was founded by U.S. Army Surgeon General William A. Hammond as the Army Medical Museum in 1862; it became the NMHM in 1989 and relocated to its present site at the Army's Forest Glen Annex in 2011.

We were surprised that this museum was a little hidden within a residential area (especially since we just left Washington, D.C.), but it was easy to find with the address and GPS. Marianne had heard about this museum when she started researching our trip to DC. She found it on the Internet, and we stopped on our way back home after checking out of the hotel. We are so glad she found this place, because most people don't even realize that it exists.

The museum was originally established during the American Civil War as a center for the collection of specimens for research in military medicine and surgery. In 1862, Hammond directed medical officers in the field to collect "specimens of morbid anatomy...together with projectiles and foreign bodies removed" and to forward them to the newly founded museum for study. The first curator of the museum, John H. Brinton, visited mid-Atlantic battlefields and solicited contributions from doctors throughout the Union Army. During and after the war, museum staff took pictures of wounded soldiers showing effects of gunshot wounds as well as results of amputations and other surgical procedures. The information collected was compiled into six volumes of The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, published between 1870 and 1883. Most of those artifacts still reside in the collection of the museum.

Over the years, the museum staff would engaged in various types of medical research. They pioneered in photomicrographic techniques, established a library and cataloging system which later formed the basis for the National Library of Medicine, and led the research into infectious diseases while discovering the cause of yellow fever. There have been many research projects and developments that have come out of this museum ranging from field dressing gunshot wounds to DNA analysis to help identify unknown bodies from war and disasters; including their work and involvement with September 11, 2001.

This museum is packed with many different artifacts, and this blog post will not do them all justice, please make sure that you check out their website for more information on their collections. Some of the historical pieces, including the bullet that killed President Abraham Lincoln, are shown in the following photographs.

We really enjoyed visiting this museum. There are no reported paranormal claims here; however, we are keeping this location as part of "Our Haunted Travels" due to the historical significance of the location. Without the paranormal claims, the location did not make the database, it may be added for historical reasons.

We would love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments if you have been to this location in the past or would like to visit in the future.

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