James A. Shannon buildingOFFICE OF NIH HISTORY

The Office of NIH History at the National Institutes of Health exists to advance historical understanding of biomedical research within the NIH and the world. Through preserving records of significant NIH achievements, innovative exhibits, and educational programs, the Office of NIH History explores the past to enhance present understanding of the health sciences and the National Institutes of Health.



We are saddened by the death of Linda Brown of NIH Medical Arts.  She preserved much NIH history in the collection that she gave to our office and was a cheerful and creative partner in designing exhibits and other products in previous years.  Please read more about her at http://1.usa.gov/1l64h3T



Franklin RooseveltThe first president to visit NIH in Bethesda was the one responsible for its construction there—Franklin Roosevelt. On October 31, 1940—75 years ago--he dedicated the campus, speaking on the patio of Building 1. In anticipation of the war to come, he said, "We cannot be a strong nation unless we are a healthy nation. And so we must recruit not only men and materials but also knowledge and science in the service of national strength. That is what we are doing here." But he also made the point that the highest calling of NIH staff and volunteers is to “save life and not destroy it.”
To see rare footage of his speech



Exhibition Celebrates the Origins of Modern Neurobiology

Martinez Murilo, Cajal Institute, and Jeffrey Diamond, NINDS, look at one drawing of a new set of seven original Cajal drawings. These drawings of neural cells will replace the first set in our exhibit honoring Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the founder of modern neuroscience. The exhibit is located in the new Porter Neuroscience Research Center, Building 35 on the NIH Bethesda campus.


The Santiago Ramón y Cajal exhibit is located in the Porter Neuroscience Research Center atrium


Oral histories are added on a regular basis.

Marty Katz
Interview date: March 29, 2001

Mitchell Max
Interview date: March 3, 1999

The Office of NIH History holds photograph collections cataloged and uncataloged. Many can be found in Search Our Collections. To request images for use in publications or presentations contact the Office of NIH History. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.


Recent publications by former fellows, based partly on their work as Stetten Fellows

David Cantor
, Stress, Shock, and Adaptation in the Twentieth Century. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2014.


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Office of History and Stetten Museum | Bldg 60 | Suite 230 | National Institutes of Health | Bethesda, MD 20814-1460
Phone: 301.496.6610 | Email: history@nih.gov

Last updated: 04 November 2015
First published: 2 February 2005
Permanence level:
Permanent: Dynamic Content