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Exhibits Overview Gallery


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Microscopes

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

  • Howard Bartner

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

  • Roscoe Brady

    Is there a disease? What causes it? Can we prevent, treat, or cure it? Roscoe Brady's research into Gaucher's disease answered all three questions.

  • Rodbell sitting in a boat holding a camera

    Studying hormones, Martin Rodbell discovered how cells respond to signals, explaining how our body makes sense of the world. For his work, he was awarded a Nobel Prize.

  • 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.

  • Sap from the poppy Papover somniferum (pictured below) has been used for thousands of years to relieve pain and treat symptoms of diseases.

    Learn how the NIH Total Opiate Synthesis freed us from dependence upon flowers for painkillers and opened the door to new ones.

  • 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.

  • Poster featuring the silhouette of a woman and the title early stage breast cancer

    Discover a collection of 24 medical posters drawn by artists at the NIH, representing topics from arthritis to women's health.

  • image depicting 3 types of neuron

    Pain is a universally known and feared human condition, but it's also one of the least understood. Learn about NIH research on different facets of pain.