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Online Exhibits

The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum maintains numerous exhibits, some physical and others online.  Below is a list of our online exhibits about NIH people, objects, and scientific themes.  For onsite exhibitions and displays, as well as their online component, refer to our Onsite Exhibits page.

People


Christian Anfinsen: Protein Folding and the Nobel Prize

Christian Boehmer AnfinsenThis exhibition celebrates Christian Anfinsen's legacy by illuminating just a few of his contributions to science and society.

Christian Anfinsen: Protein Folding and the Nobel Prize Website


Michael Potter: The Work of Michael PotterPhoto of Michael Potter in his lab

To Potter, science was driven by curiosity, not competition, and the only goal was to answer questions about the nature of life.

Michael Potter: The Work of Michael Potter Website


Marshall Nirenberg: Deciphering the Genetic Code
Marshall Nirenberg

This exhibit explores the Nobel Prize-winning work of NHLBI's Marshall Nirenberg, who deciphered the genetic code in the early 1960s with the collaboration of his NIH colleagues.

Marshall Nirenberg: Deciphering the Genetic Code Website


The Stadtman Way: A Tale of Two Biochemists at NIH

Photograph of Earl and Thressa StadtmanAccomplished biochemists and beloved mentors, Thressa and Earl Stadtman have worked at NIH for more than half a century.

The Stadtman Way: A Tale of Two Biochemists at NIH Website


Santiago Ramón y Cajal: The Beginnings of Modern Neuroscience
Photograph of Santiago Ramón y Cajal sitting at his drawing table with a microscope printed large on exhibit

Santiago Ramón y Cajal was the first to describe the nervous system, including neurons, in exquisite detail.  His original drawings, as well as information about current NIH neuroscience, are on exhibit in NIH Building 35, the Porter Neuroscience Center.

Santiago Ramon y Cajal: The Beginnings of Modern Neuroscience Website


Howard Bartner & 40 Years of Medical Illustration

Howard BartnerHoward Bartner, an NIH medical illustrator, devoted 40 years to portraying human anatomy in his drawings.

Howard Bartner & 40 Years of Medical Illustration Website


Roscoe Brady & Gaucher Disease

Dr Brady with a child in a hospital settingHow medical researchers study diseases, by answering three basic questions. Focuses on Dr. Roscoe Brady's team at NINDS and their work with Gaucher disease.

Roscoe Brady & Gaucher Disease Website


Charles Darwin: Rewriting the Book of Nature
photo of Charles Darwin

Formally titled “Rewriting the Book of Nature: Charles Darwin and the Rise of Evolutionary Theory,” the exhibit describes the Charles Darwin’s life and the fortunes of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Charles Darwin: Rewriting the Book of Nature Website


Joseph Goldberger & the War on Pellagra
Joseph Goldberger

Dr. Joseph Goldberger discovered of 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 meant by politicial and social resistance.

Joseph Goldberger & the War on Pellagra Website


Martin Rodbell: How Cells Respond to SignalsRodbell sitting in a boat holding a camera

Martin Rodbell and his colleagues discovered a mechanism that transformed our understanding of how cells respond to signals. In a series of pioneering experiments conducted at the NIH, Rodbell studied hormones--substances which have specific effects on cells' activity. He won the 1994 Nobel Prize for this work.

Martin Rodbell: How Cells Respond to Signals Website


The AMINCO-Bowman SpectrophotofluorometerPhoto of Dr Bowman in the lab with SPF device

In the 1950s, the NIH's Dr. Robert Bowman developed a sensitive instrument called the spectrophotofluorometer, or “SPF”, that allowed scientists to use fluorescence as a way to identify and measure tiny amounts of substances in the body.  This exhibit explores the instrument and its use in scientific studies ranging from anti-depressant medication to AIDS research and the Human Genome Project.

The AMINCO-Bowman Spectrophotofluorometer Website



Scientific and Biomedical Instruments and other "Things"


A History of the Pregnancy Test Kit
Woman holding a pregnancy test

This looks at the history of the home pregnancy test and examines its place in our culture. Research that led to a sensitive, accurate pregnancy test was done by scientists in the Reproductive Research Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.

A History of the Pregnancy Test Kit Website

The AMINCO-Bowman Spectrophotofluorometer

Dr Bowman in the lab with early spf device

In the 1950s, the NIH's Dr. Robert Bowman developed a sensitive instrument called the spectrophotofluorometer, or “SPF”, that allowed scientists to use fluorescence as a way to identify and measure tiny amounts of substances in the body.  This exhibit explores the instrument and its use in scientific studies ranging from anti-depressant medication to AIDS research and the Human Genome Project.

The AMINCO-Bowman Spectrophotofluorometer Website


Innovation and Invention: NIH and Prosthetic Heart Valves
President Johnson and Dr. Morrow speak with young patient

President Johnson chats with a young patient at NIH’s Clinical Center after signing a health research bill.  Dr. Andrew “Glenn” Morrow, second from right behind the President, was the Chief of the Clinic of Surgery when it was established in 1953.

Photograph courtesy of The U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jerry Hecht Photographer

The valves in your heart open millions of times a year. A damaged valve limits the flow of blood and oxygen to your body and makes your lungs work harder. Like nearly 80,000 people in the United States each year, you may need surgery to replace a damaged valve.This exhibition describes the discoveries that led to the heart-lung machine and open heart surgery, the number of experimental replacement valves that were invented and implanted, the role that NIH played in the 1960s and 70s in developing and testing these medical devices, and the public safety and regulatory responsibilities that were entrusted to the FDA.These histories are more than timelines of material sciences, engineering, and technology—they are also very personal stories of dedicated healers searching for solutions to heart ailments.


Cray X-MP/22 Computer

NIH's first supercomputer, the Cray X-MP/22, was the world's fastest supercomputer from 1983-1986, and the first one devoted solely to biomedical research.  Both the physical and virtual exhibits are under development, but you can still see the Cray at its exhibit site located in Building 50.


Siemens 1-A Electron Microscope

This Siemens 1-A Electron Microscope was used for over three decades by Dr. Albert Kapikian, NIAID.  The instrument was used to detect and characterize various viruses. 

See the Siemens Microscope at its exhibit site located in Building 50.


Varian A-60 NMRphoto of the museum display

A Varian A-60 NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) was used at NIH in the 1960s to identify molecular structures and their reactions in relation to biomedical research.  The virtual exhibit is under construction, but visit the real thing

Visit the Varian A-60 NMR at it's location in Building 50.


Early Computing at NIHHand-assembly of a computer

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

Early Computing at NIH


Early Medical Instruments at the NIH

A cross section of precision instruments used at NIH between 1945 and 1965 is presented.

Early Medical Instruments at the NIH Website


Equal Arm Analytical Balancesantique wooden analytical balance

This type of balance is designed on a “seesaw” principle to measure mass precisely by placing a sample in one pan and a known weight in an opposing pan until an equilibrium was established.

Equal Arm Analytical Balances Website


Laboratory Instrument Computer (LINC)LINC computer

The story of one of the first supercomputers from its conception in MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, through its use in biomedical research laboratories.

Laboratory Instrument Computer (LINC) Website


Medical Posters

Early Stage Breast Cancer PosterA collection of 24 medical posters drawn by artists at the NIH, representing topics from arthritis to women's health.

Medical Posters Website


The National Cancer Institute Real-Time Picture Processor
Real Time Picture Processor

The Real Time Picture Processor (RTPP) was one of the first special-purpose hardware computers developed for grayscale image processing and was designed to aid in biological image analysis.

The National Cancer Institute Real-Time Picture Processor Website

Institutes and Ideas


Human Genetics and Medical ResearchMicrograph of chromosomes

Cracking the genetic code allowed us to study diseases at the molecular level, which has increased our knowledge of potential preventions and treatments for diseases. The study of genetics has become central to the science of medicine. This exhibit asks many questions: How do genes cause disease? Can gene therapy work? How do we manipulate genes and should we?

Human Genetics and Medical Research Website


NIBIB: Improving Health Through Emerging Technologies — This exhibit places some examples of cutting-edge research, funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, in historical context.  The virtual exhibit is under construction but you can visit the NIBIB Emerging Technology Exhibit in person in Building 31.

Synthetic Opiates and Opioids
poppy flowers

The quest to free us from a dependence upon certain flowers by developing a synthetic source for morphine and codeine and the development of new painkillers is described.  This work at NIDDK resulted in the NIH Total Opiate Synthesis method.

Synthetic Opiates and Opioids Website


The National Cancer Institute Real-Time Picture Processor
Real Time Picture Processor

The Real Time Picture Processor (RTPP) was one of the first special-purpose hardware computers developed for grayscale image processing and was designed to aid in biological image analysis.

The National Cancer Institute Real-Time Picture Processor Website


A History of the Pregnancy Test Kit
Woman holding a pregnancy test

This looks at the history of the home pregnancy test and examines its place in our culture. Research that led to a sensitive, accurate pregnancy test was done by scientists in the Reproductive Research Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.

A History of the Pregnancy Test Kit Website


Innovation and Invention: NIH and Prosthetic Heart Valves

President Johnson chats with a young patient at NIH’s Clinical Center after signing a health research bill.  Dr. Andrew “Glenn” Morrow, second from right behind the President, was the Chief of the Clinic of Surgery when it was established in 1953.

Photograph courtesy of The U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jerry Hecht Photographer

The valves in your heart open millions of times a year. A damaged valve limits the flow of blood and oxygen to your body and makes your lungs work harder. Like nearly 80,000 people in the United States each year, you may need surgery to replace a damaged valve.This exhibition describes the discoveries that led to the heart-lung machine and open heart surgery, the number of experimental replacement valves that were invented and implanted, the role that NIH played in the 1960s and 70s in developing and testing these medical devices, and the public safety and regulatory responsibilities that were entrusted to the FDA.These histories are more than timelines of material sciences, engineering, and technology—they are also very personal stories of dedicated healers searching for solutions to heart ailments.


Siemens 1-A Electron Microscope

This Siemens 1-A Electron Microscope was used for over three decades by Dr. Albert Kapikian, NIAID.  The instrument was used to detect and characterize various viruses. 

See the Siemens Microscope at its exhibit site located in Building 50.


Charles Darwin
Photograph of Charles Darwin

Formally titled “Rewriting the Book of Nature: Charles Darwin and the Rise of Evolutionary Theory,” the exhibit describes the Charles Darwin’s life and the fortunes of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Charles Darwin Website