California Museums


Salinas, CA Medical Museum

SALINAS Museum of Medical History

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Downing Resource Center
450 E. Romie Lane
Salinas, CA
(831) 755-0772
9am-5pm Monday-Friday

Hours & Admission - Free, self guided tours Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- always call to confirm before going!

Take a peak inside an interesting and educational museum, a window to our scientific past. The Museum includes exhibits on the evolution of medicine and medical equipment over the past three centuries with antique and obsolete medical instruments and equipment dating back as far as the 1700s. See a Civil War surgical kit, doctor's office circa 1920 featuring furniture and instruments used to perform a tonsillectomy, and a surgery case complete with an operating table owned by Dr. Henry Murphy, John Steinbeck's family doctor.

Diagnostic machines, two cases of medical items dating from the 1700s to World War I (1918) and including many instruments used during the Civil War, and memorabilia spanning the 50-year history of the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Service League, and the nursing profession, are really interesting--eye opening, in fact!

Ever heard about "the iron lung"? The exhibition has included one! Behind glass display cases are some fascinating objects such as 18th-century ceramic medicine jars, Civil War-era field kits, tracheal dilators for diphtheria from the 1950s, a spring-loaded scalpel, a 1903 ledger next to its corresponding pathology slides, which are stained with tissue samples inflicted with ailments like bronze liver from malaria and arsenic poisoning. A proctology display, portable Civil War-era amputation kits with a leather belt and saws with ivory handles, plungers, needles, scalpels and syringes. Samples of sutures made from silk worm gut, horsehair or ostrich tendons, an electric shock box (for jolting women out of post-partum depression,) medicines, glass bottles for prescriptions, and so much more! It's hard to believe that medicine can be so interesting from the laymen's perspective. Believe it or not, kids love it, too!

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