Remedies and Memories: Changing Medicine in Lawrence

It’s no secret to supporters of the Watkins that Lawrence is an historic town–a place of enduring struggles for freedom since the days of Bleeding Kansas. But did you know that our city has also witnessed crucial advances in medicine?

Beginning tomorrow, you’ll have a chance to discover many fascinating stories from Lawrence’s medical past. Our new exhibit, Remedies and Memories: Changing Medicine in Lawrence, chronicles the evolution of care from home-based folk cures and patent medicine to modern hospitals and expert doctors.

Epidemic headline

Lawrence Journal-World headline of October 8, 1918, about the deadly influenza epidemic of that year.

The exhibit features a wide range of artifacts from our collections, including an 1880s dentist’s chair and a 1930s small pox quarantine flag. Photographs and profiles reveal the experiences of local medical pioneers like Lucy Hobbs-Taylor–the first female registered dentist in the United States–and the advent of hospitals such as KU Medical Center.


Chicken pox quarantine flag. (Watkins collections.)

Nor is that all. Our Final Friday opening on January 29 will offer not only an opportunity to absorb medical history, but to check up on your own health! We’ll have nurses from Lawrence Memorial Hospital on hand performing free blood pressure screenings. Join us during Final Friday for an evening of history and wellness.

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