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Visit the WITS Adler Museum of Medicine

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The WITS Adler Museum of Medicine is a marvel to behold. Come and explore the world of ancient and modern medicine in their many intriguing displays and exhibits. It's a must-visit for the school holidays, so don't miss it. 

The WITS Adler Museum of Medicine is responsible for the preservation of medical history and health sciences. Since 1962, the museum has curated an invaluable collection of medical artefacts, photographs, and medical journals. If you've ever wanted to learn more about the history of medicine in Southern Africa, the Adler Museum is a must-visit for you.

The museum also includes a variety of exciting displays about traditional medicinal practices, herbal medicines, and alternative health practices. The Adler Museum is a treat to explore, both for aspiring medical students and the genera public. It's also a wonderful place to bring the kids during school holidays for a bit of edutainment. Keep reading to find out more about the Adler Museum's offerings:

A brief history

The Museum of the History of Medicine was inaugurated in 1962. Founded by Dr. Cyril Adler, the museum's role was to collect and preserve materials that would illustrate the history of medicine in South Africa. The museum was officially handed over to WITS University just over a decade later and renamed the Adler Museum of Medicine of the History of Medicine. Then, in 2002 the museum made its final move to the WITS Medical School, where it now welcomes scores of visitors annually.

Medical marvels

The Adler Museum is truly one-of-a-kind. Their collection of medical artefacts includes hundreds of items of medical interest, documents and journals, sculptures, videos and photographs, illustrations, and much more. What sets this cultural institution apart from others, however, is its dedication to promoting the history of traditional African medicine. Two of the museum's special attractions include reconstructions of an African herb shop and a patient consulting a traditional healer or sangoma. 

Human advancement is most notable in our medical discoveries and the developments of modern medicine. The Adler Museum traces this development through the 20th century in South Africa. Come and marvel at reconstructions of early 20th century Johannesburg pharmacies, dental surgeries and operating theatres. There is also an old-timey doctor's consulting room and optometry display. You'll certainly leave the museum grateful for modern medicine!

Adler Museum

WITS Adler Museum of Medicine.

School tours

The Adler Museum of Medicine offers a range of educational services, as well. The museum library features a stunning collection of rare books and includes a history of medicine reference section containing some 5 000 volumes and journals. The archives contain further rare gems, including biographical artefacts and memorabilia of some of the most prominent medical professionals of the last century. Medical students from the WITS Medical School and Health Sciences faculty can often be found scrounging around in these archives in search of precious information.

Teachers, bring your grade 6 and 7 learners to the Adler Museum for your next school outing. The museum provides an introduction to medical history, as well as discussions and activities related to the NCS curriculum on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. School groups take a 2-hour guided tour through the museum. This tour includes worksheet activities, video tutorials, and career guidance. You can book a tour by contacting the museum on: (Tel) 011 717 2081 | Email: [email protected]

WITS Adler Museum.

Details: WITS Health Sciences Campus, 7 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg.

*Please note that the museum is operating under a strict pre-booking system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure to contact them before visiting.

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