Drinking Patterns in America

I’ve been doing some research on medicinal alcohol for a new exhibit and came across the data for this graph- I was surprised to see the huge fluctuation in the amount of beer consumed by Americans (yellow line), and also the sharp decrease in total alcohol consumed (red line) in the 1830s. What was going […]

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Medical Treatments in the Late 19th Century

Travel back to a time when two thirds of Americans lived on farms or rural villages. Indoor plumbing was rare and homes were heated by sooty wood burning stoves and kerosene lamps. Work was physically difficult and accidents happened often. Serious diseases like cholera, yellow fever, typhoid fever, diphtheria, malaria, and tuberculosis are common. Dr. […]

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“Life in the Lung” photo exhibit

The Rose Melnick Medical Museum will host a new temporary exhibit called “Life in the Lung” from Friday, July 6th to Friday, August 17th. The museum will hold special weekend hours for Summer Festival of the Arts. Saturday, July 7th: 10am to 7pm Sunday, July 8th: 11am to 5pm The exhibit will feature 20 photographs […]

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More on the replica Iron Lung…

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if people could get into (the iron lung),’ but I couldn’t let them into the real one that we have,” said Cassie Nespor, museum curator. Enter Andy Phillips, YSU carpenter and primary force behind the effort to build a replica “iron lung” that visitors could get in and experience […]

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It’s here!

The replica Iron Lung is finally here! This custom-made Iron Lung was created so that visitors can actually go *inside* an Iron Lung and experience what it felt like to be encased in the bright yellow chamber. Polio victims would have lived like this for weeks- or even years! It has a bed that slides […]

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Medieval sunglasses?

Although the first documented discussion of eyeglasses dates from the late 13th century in Italy, many cultures had discovered the magnifying property of convex glass lenses much earlier. English friar Roger Bacon (1214-1292) wrote about his observations of convex glass and noted that it would be useful for those with weak eyes. There is evidence […]

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Hear the Iron Lung at work!

The Melnick Museum has digitized a recording of a March of Dimes fund raising drive from 1952. The drive was held to replenish funds after a recent polio epidemic. During the 20 minute radio program, the announcer Mr. Caldwell interviews three families who were affected by polio. (One of the interviewed children, Judy Shakley, donated […]

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Child birth in America

For centuries, child birth occurred naturally with help of trained or experienced women. Midwives were often well trained women with children of their own. Midwives usually practiced within ethnic and class-based communities. In addition to helping with the birth, their fee often included check-up visits and assistance with household work for about a week. Although […]

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A short history of stethoscopes

Today stethoscopes are a typical fixture around doctors’ necks. They are commonly used to listen to the sounds of the heart and lungs as well as the flow of blood during blood pressure readings. The practice of percussion and immediate auscultation were popular in physical examinations by the early 1800s. In immediate auscultation, physicians placed […]

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1890 Rx

Last week, while leafing through a 1890s medical book from the museum’s library, I found a small slip of paper between the pages. It was a prescription recipe for the pharmacy of H. Waterman in Ravenna, OH. As I looked over the neat handwriting, I realized that the drug names were written in Latin and […]

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