Instruments & Artifacts Exhibits Gallery

  • Display case of Dr. Goldberger's work

    Dr. Joseph Goldberger discovered the cause of pellagra, a disease that killed many poor Southerners in the early part of the 20th century.  His finding that pellagra was caused by a diet deficient in vitamin B was met by political and social resistance.

  • Display case of Dr. Pittmann's work

    Margaret Pittman

    Margaret Pittman arrived at NIH in 1936, beginning a career that would span 57 years and make her an internationally renowned expert on vaccines and serums, as well as the first female laboratory chief at the NIH.

  • Display of Clinical Center history

    Changing Times

    Who would think that coloring books would provide a glimpse at nearly 40 years of Clinical Center history, each reflecting changing times and telling their own stories about the people who created them?

  • Display case containing many patches

    Pretty Patches

    Because employees designed these patches, they reveal how people thought about their work at the Clinical Center—sometimes as a heroic struggle and sometimes with humor.

  • Numerous microscopes on display


    Learn about the scientists behind their microscopes and the vast array of microscopes used at the NIH.

  • Photo of Dr Bowman in the lab with SPF device

    The colorful glow of fluorescent chemicals can identify and measure tiny amounts of substances in the body. This spectrophotofluorometer invented by Robert Bowman did just that.

  • Woman holding a pregnancy test

    Discover the history of the home pregnancy test—developed at the NIH—and examine its place in our culture.

  • Image of an electron microscope on display in the Building 60 lobby

    Siemens 1-A Electron Microscope

    All sorts of viruses were visualized for the first time on this Siemens 1-A Electron Microscope used by Albert Kapikian.

  • Image of the Varian a-60 microscope on display in the building 60 lobby

    Varian A-60 NMR

    The Varian A-60 NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometer was the first low-cost instrument of its kind, producing a magnetic resonance image (MRI) that NIH scientists used to study topics such as how the brain develops as children grow.

  • hands can be seen assembling circuits on a breadboard

    This snapshot of some of the computing tools used in NIH labs highlights objects that are now in the NIH Stetten Museum collection.

  • Photo of a Tensiometer

    See a cross-section of precision instruments from our collection used at NIH between 1945 and 1965.

  • An image of an analytical balance

    Discover one of the most important tools in furthering our understanding of human biology and medicine dating back to 5,000 B.C.