The seed for the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum was planted in 1894 by the Cleveland Medical Library Association. Initially what is now the museum was a repository for local doctors’ collections.
Today The Dittrick (which is what locals call it) is an internationally respected museum with exhibits and programs that showcase:
- The museum’s collections, which run the gamut from one of the best microscope collections in the world to what is probably the most complete collection of contraception devices and literature on them in the United States.
- Individual artifacts, including surgical instruments, diagnostic tools and equipment and a child-size iron lung machine that makes me send up a prayer to Jonas Salk every time I see it.
In addition, the museum’s research library contains texts, manuscripts and other materia medica that go back to the earliest days of medicine and an archive of images, some of which were published in “Dissection: Photographs of a rite of passage in American medicine 1880-1930,” co-authored by the museum’s director in 2009.
As you have probably figured out from reading this, I’m a big fan of the Dittrick (it’s the first place I take visiting friends, then we walk across the street to the Cleveland Museum of Art), so I’m coordinating a tour for AHCJers who get into Cleveland early.
If you are interested, here’s the drill:
- Meet me – I’ll be carrying a sign with Dittrick Tour on it – at the AHCJ registration desk at 3 p.m. on April 6. The registration desk will be on the second floor (Ballroom Level) of the hotel.
- When everyone has gathered and/or at 3:15, we will head to Public Square and catch a HealthLine bus headed up Euclid Avenue (see fares below). Since you’ll be returning to your hotel afterwards, I’d suggest getting the all-day pass (it expires at 3 a.m.).
|All Day Pass||$5||$2.50||$4|
Note: If you are arriving at the airport on April 6, and are taking the RTA to Downtown Cleveland, and will be doing the Dittrick Museum tour, purchase the All Day Pass: It’s good until 3 a.m. the next day on the light rail trains and area buses. Here are more tips on transportation.
*Senior/disabled passengers will need to show valid RTA Senior or Disabled ID (both of which include a photo), or a Medicare card, as well as a driver’s license or other official photo ID.
- The ride up Euclid should take 15-20 minutes and we should arrive about 4 p.m. Along the route, you’ll see lots of “urban” Cleveland, as well as Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and the University Circle/CWRU area (which abuts Little Italy, where there are some excellent places to dine/eat/snack.)
- We’ll disembark at the Euclid/Adelbert stop, in front of the museum (and across the street from Severance Hall, home to the Cleveland Orchestra) and head up the steps to the third-floor museum, where we’ll be met by Jennifer Nieves, the museum’s archivist and registrar. She will do a brief orientation then turn you loose for a self-guided tour.Wednesday is late-closing night at The Dittrick, so spend as much time there as you want, then, using your bus pass, head back to your hotel. Or head across the street to the Cleveland Museum of Art, which is open until 9 p.m., or up Adelbert Road or Mayfield Road (head right at the Euclid-Mayfield intersection) to Little Italy for some really good Italian food.
- Please RSVP: I’d like to let Jennifer know how many people to expect, so if you think you (and any significant other traveling with you) would like to do the tour, let me know by dropping a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re not sure you’re interested in a tour, use this link for a quick preview of the museum.
The Road to Cleveland
- Attending Health Journalism 2016? Go for a walk in Cleveland
- Health Journalism 2016 panel to look at cities tackling health and turmoil
- The Road to Cleveland: Haven’t booked your hotel yet?
- Planning for AHCJ’s annual conference with an eye on disparities
- Take the opportunity to tour a world-class medical history museum
- Share a room or ride in Cleveland