Exhibits Overview

The DeWitt Stetten Jr. Museum of Medical Research, preserves and interprets the material culture of the scientific work of the NIH. Through onsite and online exhibits, the Stetten Museum brings these materials to life to inform the public of the breadth and significance of research performed at the NIH, the world's largest research entity dedicated to biomedical and behavioral research and training.

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Onsite Exhibits Gallery

Please visit the Exhibit Maps page for more information about the physical location of the exhibits listed on this page.

  • Christian Boehmer Anfinsen

    How are proteins made? How do they fold, and what role does structure play in their function? Chris Anfinsen's investigations answered these questions; they also led to a Nobel Prize.

  • Photo of Michael Potter in his lab

    Michael Potter investigated the twin questions of what causes cancer and how we produce the antibodies called immunoglobulins which protect us from disease.

  • Marshall Nirenberg

    Explore the Nobel Prize-winning work of Marshall Nirenberg, who deciphered the genetic code with the help of NIH colleagues, enabling genetics to become a central scientific field.

  • Photograph of Earl and Thressa Stadtman

    The scientific power couple of Thressa and Earl Stadtman developed a unique way to train scientists; they each made significant scientific contributions too.

  • Photograph of Santiago Ramón y Cajal sitting at his drawing table with a microscope printed large on exhibit

    Learn about the first person to describe the nervous system, including intricate neurons, in exquisite and artistic detail was Santiago Ramón y Cajal.
  • A woman is standing in front of the exhibit titled Rehabilitation with Bioengineering, which displays prosthetic devices, images and text

    Learn about cutting-edge research funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

  • Scientific display

    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.

  • Scientific display

    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.

  • Scientific display

    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?

  • Windowed cabinet with 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.

  • Several photographs on display

    Harry Truman

    See photo albums from the 1948 Open House at NIH, which helped explain the Clinical Center concept to the public, and President Harry Truman's laying of the hospital's cornerstone in 1951.

  • Numerous microscopes on display


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

  • 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.