Body of Work: Selections from Ebling’s Historical Exhibitions, 2005-2015

Since 2005 our Historical Reading Room, on the 3rd floor has periodically had historical exhibitions installed in its display cases. The varied exhibitions have incorporated books, journals and artifacts from Ebling’s Rare Books & Special Collections, a Collection that covers the 15th century forward. Over the years we have had guest curators like Gerald Estes and Annette Yonke who shared their stamp and postcard collection on medical care and transport during WWI, and Meredith Torre and Kala Kluender, two students who created displays on the history of herbal medicines and the history of midwifery in Wisconsin.

Over the years, I have created exhibitions that complemented the UW’s Common Book Reading Program Go Big Read, adding substance to books like Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack’s with exhibitions called It’s Good for You: 100 Years of the Art & Science of Eating and Informing Consent: Unwitting Subjects in Medicine’s Pursuit of Beneficial Knowledge. Exhibits on the Civil War, exhibits highlighting our anatomical and clinical texts and traveling exhibits on African American Surgeons, Women in Medicine and Global Health have all been “brought to life,” in the Historical Reading Room.

I am most proud of three installations, Skeletons in the Attic: 100 Years of Medical Education at UW-Madison, Seaworthy: A History of Maritime Health & Medicine and Fallout: The Mixed Blessing of Radiation & the Public Health– in all cases maximizing the use of archival photos, artifacts, books and journals to illustrate the conjunctions that happen between clinical practice, scientific research, public health, nursing, pharmacy and the social, cultural, economic and political framework that exists during a historical era.

Body of Work: Selections from Ebling’s Historical Exhibitions 2005-2015 offers highlights from previous exhibits, hopefully whetting the appetite for a work in progress: Impact: Spanish Influenza, World War I and Advertising in 1918, opening in Fall of 2018. Do come see some of Ebling’s treasures, now through the summer. Please contact Micaela Sullivan-Fowler for additional information.