Hospital History: Let’s make a Museum!

The VMC Foundation's Llisel Solis (right) listens to Docent Jan as she describes the display behind: A 1920's era doctor's office for tonsillectomies! In the foreground, educational displays of the circulatory system make kids' visits teachable moments.

The VMC Foundation’s Llisel Solis (right) listens to Docent Jan as she describes the display behind: A 1920′s era doctor’s office for tonsillectomies! In the foreground, educational displays of the circulatory system make kids’ visits teachable moments.

Not many hospitals in California have a museum on-site. The best one among them, according to folks who know, offers visitors to Salinas Valley Memorial a fascinating glimpse into the history of medicine.

I and a group of colleagues got a guided tour this week, and I was just amazed. Their displays are interactive and fun…and sometimes more than a little frightening (they used THAT for WHAT???).

Above all, their museum is educational…which is why they host field trips from the local elementary schools all the time. The docents are all volunteers with teaching backgrounds and really make it fun.

Why am I telling you all this? Yes, you guessed it: We’re hoping to build one at Valley Medical Center!

…and, we need your help.

VMC’s Historical Society has been planning for a long time, and has lots of great artifacts dating back to the start of our medical center (1850!). We’ve got a place picked out, and the idea is really taking shape.

Here’s how you can help. We need:

  1. More STUFF! Do you have a great-grandfather physician whose old medical bag or tools are in your attic, gathering dust? Consider a tax-deductible gift of historical equipment to the VMC Foundation!
  2. More MONEY! Do you know a historical foundation or museum funder who might want to help create VMC’s Medical Museum? Let me know, please…and of course, if you would like to make a gift restricted to this use, the VMC Foundation would be thrilled to have your support.
  3. More EDUCATORS! We always need more volunteers here at VMC, and if you know (or are) a retired teacher who might want to help develop a curriculum, let’s talk.

Now, to get inspired: Click here for some photos we took of the Medical Museum at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. Again, it’s the best of its kind in California. Now let’s see if we can make one even BETTER!

About E. Christopher Wilder

Chris Wilder is the Executive Director of the Valley Medical Center Foundation. He is constantly updating his blog with thoughts on what's happening at VMC, the state of Safety Net institutions, and health care reform.

2 Responses to “Hospital History: Let’s make a Museum!”

  1. GRACE March 12, 2014 6:07 pm #

    HAVING A MUSEUM OF THE HOSPITAL HISTORY IS A FANTASTIC IDEA,VALLEY MEDICAL HAS GERMINATED TRIMENDIOUSLY OVER THE YEARS WITH A LOT TO HARVEST. vALLEY MEDICAL IS AIMING AST THE SKY AS WE ALL JOURNEY ALONG, LET US TELL THE WORLD OUR STORIES BEGINNING WITH ONCE UPON A TIME.

  2. lorraine girard March 13, 2014 8:47 am #

    This sounds wonderful; I have been down the hallways where the pictures of this hospital and nursing classes are displayed.

    I would love to be of help.

    I interned and my graduating class many years ago, designed the Children’s Zoo in Phoenix AZ.

    I am not retired I work here full time but, I have skills.

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