HomeBlogCelebrating 10 Years of the Cushing Center

Celebrating 10 Years of the Cushing Center

3 September 2019 - 1:47pm by Melissa Grafe

Exhibition curated by Terry Dagradi and Deborah Streahle

Dr. Harvey Cushing with patientThe Medical Library celebrates the first decade of the Cushing Center with a special exhibition leading up the its anniversary.

Throughout his career as a groundbreaking neurosurgeon, Dr. Cushing took detailed notes on what patients told him about their serious, often mysterious ailments. He had patients sit for diagnostic photos and sketches, and he followed up with them for years after treating them. With precision, he removed and preserved their tumors and, after they died, their brains. These materials became the Cushing Brain Tumor Registry, a vast collection that medical students and scholars traveled to study until the materials fell out of use in the 1970s.

Creating the Cushing Center took over 15 years, from the resurgence of interest in the collection in the 1990s to the opening of the Cushing Center during Alumni Weekend in June 2010. While the collection was originally assembled to educate the medical elite, the Cushing Center opens the Brain Tumor Registry to the public from which it came.

Student in the Cushing CenterSince opening, the Cushing Center has provided a new place of honor for the materials of the Cushing Brain Tumor Registry. The Cushing Center has also hosted workshops, meetings, and classes ranging from drawing to divinity and has inspired many projects within and beyond medicine. Serving as a unique record of neurosurgery’s early days, the space has generated abundant national and international media attention. And, as a poignant reminder of the people whose lives depended on Cushing’s expertise, the Center sparks important conversations about the ethics of collecting and displaying human tissue.

Featured in the anniversary exhibition are materials that tell the story of the Cushing Center’s first decade. If you visit, consider the next decade of the Cushing Center and share your ideas, reflections, and suggestions online and on the bulletin board near the entrance.