A new museum in "Old Red": telling UTMB's story. The mission of the "Old Red" Medical Museum (ORMM) is to further the understanding of health, disease, and health sciences education.
Dr. William Keiller
UTMB's first professor of anatomy
September 2008: Hurricane Ike forces the closing of "Old Red" due to equipment damage on lower floor (no structural damage). Gross anatomy lab on the 3rd floor had already become overcrowded due to increased class size. A new lab was needed for entering class in fall 2008.Thus the original room used for anatomy teaching when UTMB opened in 1891 became vacant.
UTMB's unique collection of about 2000 historic anatomic and pathological wet specimens survived intact, but are in constant danger of deterioration if not carefully maintained. There is strong interest in preserving the architectural landmark, Ashbel Smith Building, and its historic amphitheatre. Hence conditions are ideal for creation of a museum focused on the history of teaching health sciences, including anatomy. Currently plans are underway to bring this project to fruition.
"Old Red" Medical Museum Task Force and Heritage Committee
UTMB's "Old Red" Medical Museum Task Force and Heritage Committee have held monthly meetings over the past five years. The Task Force and Heritage Committee, created by the John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine and the Institute for the Medical Humanities, is exploring the possibility of founding a new medical museum on the top floor of "Old Red."
Paula Summerly, PhD, Research Project Manager for the John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine, is currently researching and cataloguing UTMB's rich medical heritage collections. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The earliest specimens date from 1896, however the bulk of the collections date to the 1930s. The specimens along with the vast medical memorabilia collections held by the Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collections at UTMB could form the nucleus of the future medical museum.
UTMB's former Museums
of Anatomy and Pathology
Galveston Daily News, 1922
At the opening of the University of Texas Medical Department in the summer of 1891, there were two museums in "Old Red" - one anatomical, the other pathological. The anatomy museum, located on the third floor, was curated by Professor William Keiller. The pathology museum, on the floor below, was the work of Allen J. Smith, UTMB's first Professor of Pathology.
Syphilitic Osteitis of the Skull (Detail)
Specimen from former Pathology Museum
The museums grew to achieve local and national recognition and were praised in Abraham Flexner's report, Medical Education in the United States and Canada (1910). The museums were also open to the general public, which was highly unusual for the period. By 1925, the museums expanded and were rehoused in the New Laboratory Building (later renamed the Keiller Building). Over the subsequent decades, however, due to changes in medical education, the museums became marginalized and largely fell out of use.