(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the Massachusetts Public Health Museum.)
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, 4-7 p.m., the Museum of Public Health invites the public to a FREE Museum Opening and Celebration. Come to the Public Health Museum at the historic 365 East St., Tewksbury, Massachusetts, rain or shine.
Meet your neighbors, members of the public health community, and Museum staff and Board. Enjoy complimentary refreshments and the opportunity to become a Museum member. Fascinating objects abound, including a vintage iron lung, antique dentist office equipment, blood-letting tools, “insane asylum” patient restraints, and rare document.
“The Museum provides an extraordinary ambiance and setting to better understand the evolution of public health. Some of the equipment and ideas that may seem gruesome to us now were actually improvements to what had been previous standards of care. Dating from 1854, Tewksbury Hospital is an excellent site for America’s first public health museum.”
The Public Health Museum is housed in the “Old Administration Building”, an 1894 Queen Anne style building designed by John A. Fox.
The party includes features a short presentation at 5:30 p.m. and the opportunity to meet the exhibit’s visiting curators Leena Akhtar, Lisa Haushofer, and Cara Kiernan Fallon, PhD candidates from Harvard University’s History of Science Department. Following the event, the Museum reopens to visitors 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and the first Saturday of the month, and by appointment.
Regular Museum admission is $5 for ages 6 and up and free for members and children under 6. The museum is wheelchair accessible and stroller parking is available. Leave about an hour for a fascinating guided tour, included with admission. Call 978-851-7321 x 2606 to make group tour arrangements or to confirm tour availability at a particular time.
In addition to serving as a cultural and education center for the public, the Museum hosts conferences for the public health community and health professionals. “Our mission includes providing a forum for today’s key issues in public health,” says Dr. Domoto. “We are in a moment in history where we are exploring the ethical balance between the rights of the individual to make personal health decisions versus the health needs of the community at large.”
Making health history is not new to Massachusetts. Did you know America’s first board of health was established in 1796 in Boston, and Paul Revere was its first president? Learn more about the prominent role of Massachusetts in public health history at the celebration. The most famous patient of the nineteenth century was Anne Sullivan, who later became the tutor and companion of Helen Keller. A sculpture of the pair by Mico Kaufman stands at the Tewksbury Town Hall.
The Public Health Museum was incorporated in 1994 and open to the public through July, 2012 when it closed to allow for a major renovation of the exhibits. We now celebrate that achievement, sponsored by Mass Humanities, the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Perhaps the greatest treasure of the Museum’s collection is an original paper by Lemuel Shattuck, The Sanitary Report of 1850, regarded to be the most important public health document in history. And don’t miss the well-preserved WPA murals by artists W. Lester Stevens, Maurice Compris and Samuel Hershey. This event represents an opportunity to celebrate a unique Massachusetts resource, located in Tewksbury. For more information visit www.publichealthmuseum.org