Current Exhibitions

Plastic Surgery at Yale: Surgical Expertise, Innovation, and History

Plastic surgery exhibit

On view in the Cushing Rotunda from October 30th 2019 - February 24th, 2020

Surgical attempts to reconstruct the human body after injury or illness have long been at the forefront of medical innovation. The expansive field of plastic surgery emerged over centuries, now including reconstruction and cosmetics and aesthetic surgery. In this exhibition, evolving techniques and procedures dating from ancient times through the present day are on display through a sampling of major historical plastic surgery texts from the Medical Historical Library.

Discover technologies used in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery today through the models and tools on loan from Yale Plastic Surgery. Learn about innovations from Yale's own plastic surgery faculty through various publications, instruments, and the international non-profit work performed around the globe.
The exhibition, in partnership with Yale Plastic Surgery, was curated by Marc E. Walker, MD, MBA, with assistance from Melissa Grafe, Ph.D, Head of the Medical Historical Library.

The Enduring Appeal of “The Doctor”

The Doctor exhibit

On view in the Medical Historical Library Reading Room from February 1st – May 1st 2020

“The Doctor,” painted by Sir Luke Fildes in 1891, has been an influential image in the history of medicine for more than a century. The painting of a Victorian doctor attending a sick child in a poor workman’s cottage held great appeal for the general public, who responded to the sympathetic portrayal. Members of the medical profession embraced the painting as a depiction of the ideal physician firmly rooted in the humanitarian traditions of medicine and not defined by the pristine clinical coldness of laboratory science which was redefining modern medicine at the end of the 19th century. By 1900, over one million prints of “The Doctor” were sold in the United States alone. This exhibition, featuring recent gifts from medical historian Bert Hansen, Ph.D., explores the history of “The Doctor” using a variety of prints and objects dating from 1907 to 2009. 

The exhibition was curated by Katherine Isham, Archivist for the Medical Historical Library.