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JAMA Revisited
October 27, 2015

The Cleveland Museum of Health

JAMA. 2015;314(16):1761. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12056

Effective presentation of health exhibits has been achieved in only a few places, notably at recent world’s fairs. Chicago’s Century of Progress, the New York World’s Fair and the Golden Gate International Exposition, as well as fairs held at Dallas, San Diego and the Great Lakes Exposition at Cleveland, contained health exhibits of notable attractiveness. At all these fairs, exhibits by the American Medical Association were prominent in the display.

The health museum idea is not an innovation. Quacks have used adaptations of it for centuries. Permanent health exhibits have been established from time to time in connection with several leading general museums. Small exhibits have been held in many localities by numerous health agencies. As long ago as 1920, efforts were made on a small scale to establish a health museum in the Harlem district in New York. The Dresden Museum of Hygiene in Germany and the Wunder des Lebens Exposition in Berlin were extensively developed in the decade between 1925 and 1935. Out of the New York World’s Fair will grow a permanent health exhibit known as the American Museum of Health. Out of the Chicago Century of Progress and other sources grew the health exhibits at the Rosenwald Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

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