Dedication of the DeWitt Stetten, Jr., Museum of Medical Research. Stetten had proposed the creation of a museum of medical instruments at the NIH in the early 1980s.
What the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum Does
The NIH biomedical and behavioral research community is an extraordinarily dynamic one, with a flow of talent from across the globe that relies on, and sometimes invents, ever-changing technologies. The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum (ONHM) helps to preserve the memory of who worked with whom, of when the work was conducted, and of what tools they used. NIH scientists and others in the community can legally transfer historical properties to ONHM, where they can become part of our national legacy. The material heritage in our collections includes instruments, objects, images, films, voices, notebooks, illustrations, and myriad documents. These historical resources preserved by ONHM are of inestimable value to this and future generations of researchers. Some less-formal correspondence covering topics — such as policy, finance, public relations, hiring strategies of lab personnel, as well as milestone discoveries — can illuminate perspectives not captured in formal journal publications.
We welcome the opportunity to evaluate materials or objects for donation. Due to space constraints, we're selective in the types and formats of donations. However, if prospective donations fall outside the scope of our collection focus, we will gladly advise you on suitable repositories for your materials among our colleagues. Please see our "Get Involved" section of this website.
Where We Fit In With Other History-of-Medicine Repositories
ONHM focuses its research and collecting specifically on the NIH research community — its people, its facilities and resources, its contributions to national and international research initiatives, and its interactions with scientific educational institutions and technology innovation centers. It is that focus on NIH that separates the office from the NIH National Library of Medicine (NLM), which has a broad mandate to cover medical history from all times and from all places over the globe. ONHM works closely with NLM to be sure that important historical resources are saved and made accessible.