Artifacts Revealed Season 2
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is proud to announce a second season of four “Artifacts Revealed” videos. The new videos present artifacts from the museum’s collection not ordinarily on display in a visually appealing and concise format.
Beyond offering a special glimpse of our artifacts, the videos offer a snapshot of the exciting, interesting, and unusual stories we tell at the museum. For example, most people usually assume that Civil War doctors prescribed medications like mercury that we know are poisonous today indiscriminately, but the video on that subject changes that perception in a little more than one minute. Changing perceptions, whether in the museum or online, can easily lead them to further discoveries about how Civil War medicine changed the world.
“The videos are excellent teaching tools,” says Executive Director David Price. “In just over one minute, people can get a good sense of several aspects of Civil War medicine. Sometimes just a short video can be enough to spark an interest or help someone understand parallels between the past and present.”
“Artifacts Revealed” and other digital exhibits provide an opportunity for visitors to engage with the museum and our collection in ways that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago.
The museum has been tasked with stewardship of these priceless artifacts and we utilize them to tell the story of medical care in our nation’s bloodiest conflict. We’re excited for the second season of the “Artifacts Revealed” series. Through it, we will continue to tell an important national story through digital means and encourage visitors to trek to the “Crossroads of War” – Frederick, Maryland.
Watch season 2 below, and if you haven’t seen the first series of “Artifacts Revealed” videos click here to catch up on season 1 on our YouTube page.
“Artifacts Revealed” is made possible by a grant from Visit Frederick and the Maryland Office of Tourism
William Hammond’s Lectures on Venereal Disease
This book contains twenty lectures prepared by eventual Army Surgeon General William Hammond in 1861 to be given at a Baltimore Hospital. His intent was to offer an introduction to sexually-transmitted disease and provide his suggested treatments. His timing was important as nearly 200,000 cases of venereal disease were reported by the Union Army during the Civil War.
Mercury was a common ingredient of many Civil War medicines (shown here in the form of calomel). While most physicians thought its value as a purgative outweighed the downsides, debate raged in the medical community over how, when, or even if it should be prescribed.
Civil War surgeons used silver nitrate as a tool to treat venereal disease, eye infections, skin ulcers and infected wounds. Today, we know that silver nitrate has anti-microbial properties, but in the 19th century doctors noted that silver nitrate seemed to be effective in treating those issues.
During the Civil War, if a soldier’s wounded arm or leg was bleeding profusely, the swift application of a tourniquet was often the only way to save a life. Over the years, the use of tourniquets has gone in an out of favor, forcing us to relearn the lessons of the Civil War. Today though, tourniquets are a standard component of first aid kits used by emergency medical personnel in the military and in the civilian world.