Collections and Exhibits

Life in the Iron Lung: Polio and the Modern Respirator

This fascinating exhibit explains the polio virus and the Sabin Oral Vaccine drive held in Youngstown, Ohio during November 1961 and February 1962. Visitors will learn about the large metal machine called a respirator or "Iron Lung" that was feared by children and parents at the height of the epidemic. The exhibit features an Emerson Iron Lung (c1950) and a custom made replica (non-working) for visitors to try for themselves.

color photograph of a 1952 Emerson respirator on display
Iron Lung on exhibit


Medical and Dental Offices  

This exhibit allows visitors to appreciate the evolution of medical offices from 1895 to 1935. The recreations show how the discovery of germs, sterilization techniques, and new technology changed the practice of medicine.

color photograph of a 1900 doctors office recreation exhibit
1900 doctor's office exhibit


Early Radiology

This exhibit tells the fascinating story of the discovery of X-rays by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895 and how the new technology was quickly embraced by the  medical community. The museum features several types of X-ray machines from the 1920s to the 1950s, including a wooden German X-ray machine, dental X-ray equipment, and a fluoroscope.

color photograph of 1930s x-ray machines on exhibit
1930s X-ray machines on exhibit