At the Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, there is a museum of medical history. It’s called the Sioux Empire Medical Museum, and I for one, can’t think of a creepier place within the city limits.
It’s amazing the extent to which we indulge in nostalgia regarding cars, the open road, movies, railroads, and so forth. Shoot, we even get nostalgic over airplane travel, and that form of travel had maybe twenty years in which it was glamorous.
Of course, part of our nostalgia involves drug stores, but it seems to be limited to the soda counter-and-phosphate section of them. That these places sold any number of bizarre and quasi-dangerous tinctures in all sorts of glass bottles is conveniently forgotten.
Similarly, is there any real interest in seeing a 1912 era operating room? Because that is apparently the central exhibit of the Sioux Empire Medical Museum.
Shoot. I don’t even want to see reusable hypodermic needles with glass columns, IV bottles, or those station-wagon ambulances that seem to be about a paint job and some vinyl away from being hearses.
And those things were all phased out within my lifetime (albeit very early on).
Also. If you met someone with an extensive collection of early medical instruments, what would you think of this person? I mean, a guy who has ten fancy restored Tokheim gas pumps may strike you as having more time or money than he can put to productive use, but other than that…
Similarly, the guy with the perfectly restored ’65 Mustang, who rejected an otherwise serviceable speedometer needle on the grounds that it probably came from a ’66 might seem a bit obsessive, but you probably wouldn’t mind sharing a beer in his garage and hearing his story about how he found a perfectly upholstered rear bench in East Overshoe Wisconsin and had to drive there on a Saturday afternoon to pick it up.
But what if some guy invites you to his house so he can show you his collection of ether masks from 1906?
I’m sure hospitals and clinics have been put on model railroad layouts, but probably by doctors with hobbies, not by ordinary people who feel that no layout is complete without at least one building that is a constant reminder of our own mortality, which smells funny, and which is a torment of endless embarrassments to its inmates. Heck, it might as well be a nursing home.
I have more than a few ads for over the counter health aids (mostly cough drops) at Time and Seasons. I don’t plan on getting any more involved in health care history than that.