Welcome to the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum! Discover the scientific, legislative, and social history of the National Institutes of Health.

—About the Featured Image

A Note About Visiting Us

Our exhibits are located in several buildings across the NIH campus. Visitors and researchers can contact us for more information at: history@nih.gov


  • a cropped image of the Nirenberg exhibit to represent exhibits generally

    The DeWitt Stetten Jr. Museum of Medical Research, established in 1986, preserves and interprets the material culture of the scientific work of the NIH. In conjunction with the broader Office of NIH History, the Stetten Museum collects biomedical research instruments, photographs, videos, journals, oral histories, and objects related to the general history of the NIH, including architectural artifacts, artwork, and clothing.

  • a cropped image of a box indexing archived slides

    The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum holds many collections: objects, images, and documents, and books. We have over 3,100 objects and thousands of photographs related to NIH history. There are many ways to search our collections.

  • FDR speaking at the NIH

    The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum was established to increase historical understanding of the National Institutes of Health and biomedical science among NIH staff, scholars, and the general public. The Office serves as a source of information for NIH history by maintaining a subject and biographical ready-reference collection.

Observing Native American Heritage Month

This Native American Heritage Month, we want to recognize the history of cooperation and collaboration between NIH and Tribal Nations. On his final day as NIH director – October 31, 2008 – Dr. Elias Zerhouni attended a meeting of the Director’s Council of Public Representatives (COPR). Formed in 1998 by former NIH Director Harold Varmus, COPR was composed of members of the public who gave insight on opportunities for public participation and outreach at NIH. During this meeting, committee member Dr. Cynthia Lindquist, Spirit Lake Dakota Nation member and president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College, gifted a star quilt to Dr. Zerhouni. She invited Lora M. Church, a Navajo committee member from the Bitterwater and Black Streak Wood Clan, to sing a song of blessing as Zerhouni stepped down.

Dr Zerhouni is standing in a conference room wrapped in a star quilt, as a woman with dark hair holds a microphone, and appears to be singing

From left to right: Lora M. Church, Dr. Cynthia Lindquist, Dr. Elias Zerhouni, and Dr. Raynard Kington, acting director following Zerhouni.