Friday, January 29, 2010

Greetings from the Dittrick

Greetings from the Dittrick blog, or What’s in a name?

We are finally getting our blog for the Dittrick off the ground! Long-time friends know that we’ve had a great website for over a decade, and through that portal they know us pretty well. Newcomers will undoubtedly wonder at our name, and so a brief intro is perhaps in order.

Like other medical museums, the Dittrick documents and interprets the medical past, but we began as part of a medical library rather than as an anatomical or pathological museum. Our origins date to 1899 when the Cleveland Medical Library Association created a “historical committee” (read: decorating committee). In time, we became the “Museum of cultural and historical medicine” (1926), the “Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine” (1945), finally, simply the “Dittrick” to friends and acquaintances by the 1990s.

In 1998 the Dittrick morphed yet again into the Dittrick Medical History Center (and Museum) and today functions as an interdisciplinary study center of the College of Arts and Sciences of Case Western Reserve University.

Enough of the history, for now! What do we hope to achieve in this blog? It will be collection-driven, providing a showcase for the Dittrick’s amazing artifacts, rare books, archives, and images. We’ll be sharing our research projects, alert you to programs and lectures, highlight exhibits in the works, and tell the stories behind artifacts and images, particularly of exciting new “stuff” from the Dittrick collections.

We’ll strive to convey the sense of wonder and discovery that makes our work so rewarding (and fun), and help the medical past come alive in new ways. And we hope you’ll enjoy being partners, and even participants, in this process.

Jim Edmonson