Collections & Current Exhibits
The collections of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine (SM) include more than 50,000 objects, photographs, documents, and books dating from the early 1800s to the present (bulk 1870-1940). The core of the collection consists of artifacts from A. T. Still's professional and private life, most of them donated by Dr. Still's daughter, Blanche Laughlin, and members of her family.
Since the founding of the Museum, other family members, D.O.s and Museum supporters have donated many additional artifacts that reflect the ongoing history of the osteopathic profession. The research collections of the International Center for Osteopathic History also include many former holdings of the ATSU-KCOM Library's special collections, for which the museum assumed responsibility in 1997.
Our exhibits are designed to educate visitors of differing interest levels, from the casual browser to the serious student of medical history. The exhibits range in topic from early frontier life and the life of osteopathy’s founder Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, to the early years of the osteopathic medical profession, its first school, and their subsequent development throughout the late nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries.
Visitors enter the Museum through Heritage Hall, a two-story glass atrium that serves as the east entrance to the Tinning Education Center. This large space features two of the museum’s largest artifacts—the Still Family Cabin and the First School Building of the American School of Osteopathy (ASO). Both contain photographs, artifacts, and sensor-activated audio systems that respectively present interpretive glimpses into the Still family’s frontier life and the earliest years of the ASO. The cabin, built in Lee County, Virginia in the 1820s, and the two-room ASO building, used from 1892-94, were both moved to their present location in 1994 as tangible reminders that Kirksville is the birthplace of the osteopathic profession.
The main portion of the Museum, located directly adjacent to Heritage Hall, features three main exhibit galleries.
The main gallery primarily houses exhibits relating to the history of the profession. It also contains a fully-dissected human nervous system—one of only four such dissections known to exist. One of the two secondary galleries, the Grayson Smith Period Room, is a reproduced Victorian house parlor that showcases the personal property of A.T. Still and his family. The Johnston Gallery—currently under development—will address the development of general and osteopathic medical research from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.
The main gallery exhibits include:
- Treatments and Practices examines osteopathy’s origins as an alternative to early nineteenth-century orthodox medical practices, such as bloodletting, dosing and blistering. The exhibit also presents some of the other common alternatives utilized at the time in which osteopathy developed.
- In Skilled Hands features an array of osteopathic treatment tables, manipulative treatment aids, and other equipment developed by and for osteopathic physicians during the first half of the twentieth-century.
- Form Meets Function displays a wide variety of surgical instruments from the museum’s collection.
- The Cranial Concept highlights Dr. William G. Sutherland and his development of cranial osteopathy, and features two of Dr. Sutherland’s unusual research “helmets
- Despite the Body of Evidence is a six-part exhibit that traces the history of western anatomical study from ancient Greek medicine to the present. It features a wide variety of anatomical illustrations and dissection-related artifacts, along with a history of body-snatching, a full-sized transparent anatomical mannequin, and a brief history of the ASO’s anatomy department.
- The Museum also maintains a series of smaller exhibits that showcase artifacts relating to various aspects of the osteopathic profession.
- The Historic Medicinal Plant Garden, located just outside Heritage Hall, features a wide variety of shrubs, trees, and perennials grown for medicinal use by early American physicians. They are presented in a modern landscape that also includes a small fish pond, seating areas, a picnic table, and interpretive information. Please see catalog for more information about our early medicinal plants.
- The Still Family Gravesite, located adjacent to the Kirksville campus in Forest llewellyn Cementery, in 2011-2012 the Museum and ATSU worked with the City of Kirksville to re-develop and improve access and the appearance of the Still Family Gravesite. The Museum designed and oversaw the inauguration of decorative fencing, brick pathways, seating areas, as well as improvements to the access stairs and site specific landscaping. Be sure to visit the site if you’re ever in town; it’s especially a must-see for our internaitonal guests.
The interior exhibits are open to the public six days a week, free of charge. See the Hours, Directions, and Contact