Dittrick Medical History Center

by Kaylah Stroup

Recently it came to my attention there was a museum I’d reeeeally enjoy right under my nose, Dittrick Medical Center. I think a reader might have mentioned it to me a year or so ago, before I moved to Cleveland and I bookmarked it as something to visit in the future but forgot about it completely until my pal, Jason, invited me to visit with him and a group of friends. My first visit was short but I was instantly enthralled. I immediately knew I’d have to head back for a more thorough visit and to take some photos. The permanent exhibits at the museum feature medical instrument collections to document the development of medicine. You’ve heard of the Mutter Museum, correct? Well it’s similar in a sense except instead of specimens, it’s the tools. There are stethoscopes (pictured in this post) as well as a handful of other diagnostic instruments in their various different stages of evolution. There are also a few period rooms including a 1870’s doctor’s office, a 1900 pharmacy, and a 1930’s doctor’s office.

In another gallery adjacent to the main Dittrick Museum gallery is The Percy Skuy Collection of Contraception Through the Ages. There’s a wide range of contraception items, prototypes, manufacturing devices, and literature. With over 800 items, it’s one the of the world’s largest collections of contraceptive devices. One of my favorites sections was the folklore and oddities case which includes a handful of outlandish-seeming contraceptive practices. In the museums collection are a mule’s earwax, weasel’s testicles, and a bone taken from the right side of an all black cat.

It’s a relatively small museum, I’d say it’d take the average person around an hour, if that, to check out. Seeing as admission is free, yes FREE, there is really no excuse not to visit! It’s absolutely worth a peek!

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