Changing the Face of Medicine Exhibit
The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library was the host for the National Library of Medicine “Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians” from August 20-October 7, 2012. This is the last stop in the exhibit’s long seven year journey across the country and this celebration also represents the culmination of the library’s journey through several remodeling projects, opening of the Health Library, an internal library reorganization and Infofair 2012. Whew!
The exhibit itself was scheduled several years in advance. It arrived on time and was fairly easy to assemble. A library committee was formed about eight months prior to its arrival to plan the events surrounding the exhibit and soon it began to take on a life of its own. Because we had six weeks of exhibit time to work with, we decided on four events; an opening speaker with reception following, a panel of women health care professionals, a girls’ activities event and a speaker with local historical background. The budget included travel, honoraria, flowers, printing, photography, refreshments and giveaways for attendees and visitors. They all added to the sense of celebration and required lots of planning.
At the Exhibit’s opening event, Director Jean Shipman had the pleasure of introducing library donor Spencer F. Eccles who made comments on behalf of the family on the library’s history and recent renovation. Then the new Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Dr. Vivian Lee, introduced our featured speaker, Dr. Ellen More from the University of Massachusetts Soutter Library. Dr. More was the natural speaker choice as she was at the National Library of Medicine as visiting curator for the original exhibit and she co-authored the book Women Physicians and the Cultures of Medicine, (Johns Hopkins Press, 2009). Her lecture entitled “Personal Stories, Cultural Change: Women Physicians in America 1850-2012” was thorough and thoughtful as she recounted stories of 19thcentury women in medicine as well the development of the exhibit.
Our second event was a Saturday morning co-sponsored by the School of Medicine and the Library. Approximately 45 school age girls enjoyed the exhibit and activities which gave them an opportunity to learn about nutrition, physical diagnosis, microbiology and women in medicine throughout history. Comments were very favorable from both the girls and the parents who accompanied them. The following week we teamed up with the Women in Medicine and Science Program in the School of Medicine for a panel discussion entitled “Changing the Face of Medicine: Across Generations, Across Disciplines.” Five health care professionals representing nursing, pharmacy, research and clinical medicine discussed their personal experiences and observations on how and whether times have changed in their professions over 30 years. The final event featured local Utah historian Will Bagley who spoke on “The Women’s Face of Medicine in Frontier Utah.” He spoke about early women settlers who were sent to the east coast to study medicine and return to serve the growing population.
The events surrounding the Changing the Face Exhibit were further enhanced by the “new” look of the library. In the past three years much work has been done on the building to make it a truly different place to be. The collection has been moved to the lower level in compact shelving leaving room for innovative projects and programs such as the Center for Clinical & Transitional Science offices, the Center for Medical Innovation and the Health Sciences Student Council as well as conference rooms, study spaces and offices.