The National Museum of Health and Medicine is located at 6900 Georgia Avenue, NW at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It is part of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and a member of the National Health Sciences Consortium, formed by nine science centers and museums including the Franklin Institute Science Museum of Philadelphia, the Museum of Science in Boston and the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
The Museum is home to more than 24 million specimens that include anatomical and pathological specimens, documents, medical artifacts and research collections on microscope slides.
A unique element of this museum is its dealing with disease and the effects of disease on specific case studies as well as having, among its personnel, technical research staff with experience at a cutting edge medical facility like Walter Reed Hospital.
Permanent exhibitions include: Human Anatomy which includes specimens of different body organs and a three dimensional interactive display that allows for a view of the interior of the human body; an exhibit focused on medicine during the Civil War which includes actual artifacts from the death of President Abraham Lincoln such as the bullet that killed him and his skull fragments; and, an exhibit on the evolution of the microscope beginning some 4 centuries ago up to the present.
There are always several other exhibits on display as well that are for indefinite timeframes or are rotating periodically.
The National Museum of Health and Medicine got its start in 1862 as the Army Medical Museum. It started collecting specimens for military medical research, treatment, and surgery during the Civil War, collecting battlefield specimens from the Union army to study gunshot wounds, amputations and other procedures of the day and their impact on patients.
Since its start the museum has been part of cutting edge medical investigation and research on infectious diseases such as isolating the cause of yellow fever.
After several name changes in the past, it was in 1989 that the Museum became the National Museum of Health and Medicine.
This is one of the few District of Columbia Museums that has parking available and it is free of charge, as is admission to the museum (although donations are accepted). On weekends there is much greater availability of free parking anywhere on the Walter Reed Campus
The museum is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers and has one diaper changing table installed
The nearest Metro stops are on the Red Line in Takoma Park or Silver Spring. From either of these stops it is only a quick bus ride to the Museum.
Guided tours are available with a 6 week advance reservation for groups of 40 or more people from 5th Grade age upwards. Audio tours are also available for individuals. Tours for walk-in visitors are only available on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. A number of different focuses are available for tour groups.