Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
The Frontier Army Museum is continuing its redesign of the west hallway highlighting Army firsts with the installation of the Army Medical Advancements exhibit April 13.
The second exhibit installed in the hallway following the aviation exhibit installation in January, it highlights medical advancements in the Army from the 18th century through the 21st century.
“The hallway we had before, it focused on a very specific topic: World War I, and it didn’t seem as relevant anymore since we were past the (armistice) anniversary date,” said Megan Hunter, FAM museum specialist. “We wanted an exhibit that we could do but still have flexibility to change things out and still keep the same topic idea. Highlighting Army firsts, it lends itself to the idea that we can select all different kinds of topics and keep changing out without having to completely remodel the whole space.
“The way (the medical advancements) exhibit is broken down is essentially a few highlights from each century that we thought were really interesting and innovative,” she said. “The nice thing about this exhibit, it lends itself to repurpose it and just change out the information because there is so much to choose from when it comes to Army medical history.”
The exhibit includes informational panels about the first mass inoculation using a live virus implemented by George Washington to fight smallpox in the 18th century; battlefield logistics and the discovery of yellow fever transmission in the 19th century; mobile testing laboratories and feeding soldiers in the 20th century; and the invention of the epipen and the one-handed tourniquet in the 21st century.
“A lot of the innovations that were either pioneered through the Army or began in the Army have been tailored for civilian use, like the epipen,” Hunter said.
The informational panel states: “Inventor Sheldon worked as a military contractor at Survival Technology in Bethesda, Maryland, where he developed an auto-injector called the ComboPen. This invention was first designed to deliver treatment to soldiers who had come into contact with a nerve agent. The ComboPen would quickly deliver the antidote into the bloodstream of the affected person.”
Artifacts on display include a circa 1900 pocket surgical kit, which includes gauze, small cutting utensils and suture equipment; a circa 1900 medical field hand stretcher; a 1872 medical supply letter written to Dr. W. E. Waters, assistant surgeon at Fort Leavenworth; a circa 1920 medical field station; circa 1940 wooden crutches; a 1944 large battlefield dressing; and various photos.
“In looking at this exhibit, I want (patrons) to understand that the Army has a long history of being involved medically in the care of soldiers, which has also been transmuted to civilian use,” Hunter said.
The Frontier Army Museum is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
To view the exhibit online with FAM OnCell, visit https://frontierarmymuseum.oncell.com/en/site-list-80713.html.