Office of NIH History

Office of NIH History The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum tells the stories of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health.
(4)

Operating as usual

Looks like #NIH Director Francis Collins left his guitar on the steps of this 2018 gingerbread rendition of Building 1, ...
12/31/2020

Looks like #NIH Director Francis Collins left his guitar on the steps of this 2018 gingerbread rendition of Building 1, which includes the bear that once visited campus and our own deer herd. Have a sweeter new year.

This snowy scene on the #NIH campus during the early 1950s evokes the winter wonderland we all dream of at least once a ...
12/29/2020

This snowy scene on the #NIH campus during the early 1950s evokes the winter wonderland we all dream of at least once a year.

Someone—is it Santa Claus?—is skating toward Christmas. An artist in the Medical Arts and Photography Branch at #NIH cre...
12/24/2020

Someone—is it Santa Claus?—is skating toward Christmas. An artist in the Medical Arts and Photography Branch at #NIH created this hurrying figure for a holiday card, now in our collection, in the late 20th century.

The holiday season may not be merry for everyone. Dr. Calvin Frederick, who researched suicide, stress, and violence suf...
12/22/2020

The holiday season may not be merry for everyone. Dr. Calvin Frederick, who researched suicide, stress, and violence suffered by children, spoke to journalist, Tom Brokaw, in 1975 about the loneliness of Christmas time. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) sent these record albums of the “Mental Health Matters” interview to radio stations. If you are having difficulties this season, visit NIMH’s page https://bit.ly/37lnmsD

We wish we could gather for holiday parties this year like these NIH staff members did several years ago. The food alone...
12/17/2020

We wish we could gather for holiday parties this year like these NIH staff members did several years ago. The food alone looks great!

Scrunching tightly together for this holiday card is the senior staff of the NIH Clinical Center in 1961. Can you name a...
12/16/2020

Scrunching tightly together for this holiday card is the senior staff of the NIH Clinical Center in 1961. Can you name anyone in the photograph?

A little holiday magic through crafts, decorations, and a story cheered up young patients at the #NIH Clinical Center so...
12/10/2020

A little holiday magic through crafts, decorations, and a story cheered up young patients at the #NIH Clinical Center sometime during the mid-1950s.

“Don’t be a Scrooge” is the message of the seasonal classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This film version star...
12/08/2020

“Don’t be a Scrooge” is the message of the seasonal classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This film version starring George C. Scott was presented by NIH’s Division of Computer Research and Technology (now CIT) and IBM Corp. in 1986 at the NIH Clinical Center.

These smiling gingerbread people and their candy-covered turkey represent the partners for whom the NCI Vaccine Branch i...
12/03/2020

These smiling gingerbread people and their candy-covered turkey represent the partners for whom the NCI Vaccine Branch is grateful, including nurses, patients, and the Food and Drug Administration. The Branch designed this homage for its 2019 entry in the NIH Gingerbread Contest.

We’re providing some cheer this month by featuring fun photographs and objects from our collection relating to NIH and t...
12/02/2020

We’re providing some cheer this month by featuring fun photographs and objects from our collection relating to NIH and the holidays.

This clever invitation for the #NIH Clinical Center’s Arthritis, Child Health, and Allergy Service’s Holiday Party in 1987 includes a parody of the song “Winter Wonderland”: “In the meadow we can build a snowman / and pretend that he's a Normal Volunteer / He'll say, “You can stick me.” “ We'll say, “No, man, / but you can help us share the season's cheer!””” The invitation itself is a whimsical informed consent form, getting attendees in the spirit of clinical research as well as the holidays.

A few hours after learning he won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine last month, Dr. Harvey Alter sat down i...
11/27/2020
NIH Press Conference: Harvey Alter, M..D. Wins 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

A few hours after learning he won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine last month, Dr. Harvey Alter sat down in a socially distanced fashion with Francis Collins to discuss his career and the momentous occasion. Alter humorously recalled that he did not pick up the phone to hear the news until the third call. Watch the interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJkl9QVDVds

NIH Press Conference: Harvey Alter, M..D. Wins 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

In 2000, Dr. Harvey Alter was awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research for his efforts that led to ...
11/24/2020

In 2000, Dr. Harvey Alter was awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research for his efforts that led to the discovery of the virus that causes hepatitis C. His work led to the virtual elimination of hepatitis acquired through the blood supply. He won the Nobel Prize this year.

Dr. Harvey Alter conversed with a woman hooked up to a Kaneka-fuchi Co. Liposorber MA-01, which is used to lower LDL cho...
11/19/2020

Dr. Harvey Alter conversed with a woman hooked up to a Kaneka-fuchi Co. Liposorber MA-01, which is used to lower LDL cholesterol level. Alter performed much of his Nobel Prize winning work in the NIH Clinical Center’s Department of Transfusion Medicine, a center for research into blood-related diseases.

The work of Drs. Harvey Alter and Robert Purcell, pictured in the Blood Bank of the NIH Clinical Center, was formative i...
11/17/2020

The work of Drs. Harvey Alter and Robert Purcell, pictured in the Blood Bank of the NIH Clinical Center, was formative in discovering the virus that causes hepatitis C. During the 1970s, Alter and his team showed through chimpanzee studies that most post-transfusion hepatitis cases were not due to hepatitis A or hepatitis B (NANBH). This new virus, which came to be known as hepatitis C, was confirmed in 1988 by Alter and his team who verified its presence in their stored panel of NANBH specimens. Alter won the Nobel Prize for his work this year.

This wooden box was originally meant for holding glass slides, but Dr. Harvey Alter modified it to contain a phlebotomy ...
11/12/2020

This wooden box was originally meant for holding glass slides, but Dr. Harvey Alter modified it to contain a phlebotomy kit that he carried when he visited people in their homes or at work so he could obtain their blood samples. By following up on people who had been operated on at NIH, Alter discovered the existence of another form of hepatitis. He became the NIH’s 6th Nobel Laureate this year.

Dr. Harvey Alter, NIH’s newest Nobel Laureate, was introduced to future Nobel Laureate, Dr. Baruch (Barry) Blumberg, in ...
11/10/2020

Dr. Harvey Alter, NIH’s newest Nobel Laureate, was introduced to future Nobel Laureate, Dr. Baruch (Barry) Blumberg, in 1962. Together they would discover the Australia antigen, the surface protein of the hepatitis B virus. Although this discovery ultimately shifted the trajectory of Alter’s research, he remembered that “it was not the ‘eureka moment’ one would have hoped for because it was an isolated finding with no clinical relevance at the time.” Alter credits Blumberg for teaching him the value of perseverance and the importance of storing samples.

In 1961, Harvey Alter was faced with two possibilities: being drafted by the Army or meeting his military service requir...
11/05/2020

In 1961, Harvey Alter was faced with two possibilities: being drafted by the Army or meeting his military service requirement at the NIH with a prestigious Blood Bank fellowship. Alter’s acceptance at NIH superseded his draft notice, leading him to a more than 50-year career at NIH. This photo of Alter in his Public Health Service uniform is from 1977.

What makes a Nobel Laureate? This month we’ll be following Dr. Harvey Alter on his journey to this year’s Nobel Prize in...
11/03/2020

What makes a Nobel Laureate? This month we’ll be following Dr. Harvey Alter on his journey to this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine, which he shared with Drs. Michael Houghton and Charles Rice. As an undergraduate at University of Rochester, Alter had already set his sights on a career in medicine. His father, who had wanted to pursue medicine as a child but was unable because of financial constraints, instilled this passion into his son.

A scientist would have swooned for this laboratory 80 years ago. This Building 2 lab on the NIH campus had everything: t...
10/22/2020

A scientist would have swooned for this laboratory 80 years ago. This Building 2 lab on the NIH campus had everything: tiled walls, two fume hoods, a refrigerator, electrical panels in the wall, gas and water dispensers, and even window shades designed not to react with chemicals. Plus, you might have been able to hang out the window to see President Franklin Roosevelt dedicate the campus on October 31, 1940.

This is the NIH only 80 years ago—one person’s lifetime. These six buildings in Bethesda tripled the space available to ...
10/20/2020

This is the NIH only 80 years ago—one person’s lifetime. These six buildings in Bethesda tripled the space available to the NIH’s laboratory and administrative staffs and had ventilation systems for chemical hoods and animal rooms. The campus had its own power plant and sewage pumping system with considerably more steam supply, electrical capacity, and refrigeration available than at its old home in Washington, D.C. In 2020, however, you need a map to get around https://www.ors.od.nih.gov/maps/Pages/NIH-Visitor-Map.aspx

On a January day in 1939, workers prepare to construct the first floor of Building 6, which would house the National Can...
10/15/2020

On a January day in 1939, workers prepare to construct the first floor of Building 6, which would house the National Cancer Institute on the NIH campus. NIH scientists wouldn’t wait for the building to be completely finished before they moved in, which greatly annoyed the construction workers. When President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the campus on October 31, 1940, some NIH staff had been working on campus for nearly two years.

A supervisor chats with men working on a house for Public Health Service officers stationed at the NIH campus in Bethesd...
10/13/2020

A supervisor chats with men working on a house for Public Health Service officers stationed at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland in September 1939. The officers paid rent but got houses with electricity, running water, and furnaces—something many Americans did not have at the time. Now, 80 years after the campus was dedicated, the sounds of children playing in the yards have been replaced by the sounds of office workers in the houses.

Looking somewhat like a dollhouse, the wood framework for NIH’s Building 1 was completed in July 1938 (center). Building...
10/08/2020

Looking somewhat like a dollhouse, the wood framework for NIH’s Building 1 was completed in July 1938 (center). Building 3 is much further along, having its roof being installed (right) but Building 2 is just getting its framework begun (left). If you look closely, you can see the workers looking as if they are dolls. In only three years, they would build the first six buildings of the NIH campus, which would be dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in October 1940.

Rose garden, diplomatic school, think tank—Luke and Helen Wilson went through a lot of possibilities before donating 45 ...
10/06/2020

Rose garden, diplomatic school, think tank—Luke and Helen Wilson went through a lot of possibilities before donating 45 acres of their Rockville Pike estate to the federal government in 1935 to be the home of the National Institute of Health (back then it was singular). These portraits depict the Wilsons at their estate. After Luke died of bladder cancer a few days before Congress unanimously authorized the National Cancer Institute in 1937, Helen donated additional acres to house that new institute too. Eventually the Wilson family would donate “70 Acres of Science” https://history.nih.gov/display/history/Publications

Congratulations to a wonderful physician/scientist!
10/05/2020

Congratulations to a wonderful physician/scientist!

Congratulations to #NIH intramural researcher Dr. Harvey Alter for winning 2020 #NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. Dr. Alter shares the award with Dr. Michael Houghton and Dr. Charles M. Rice. Join NIH live today (10/5) at 12:00 pm ET as Dr. Harvey Alter goes live with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins to discuss his remarkable contributions. The livestream will be on NIH Twitter and Facebook.https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-intramural-researcher-dr-harvey-alter-wins-2020-nobel-prize-physiology-or-medicine

We've just added dozens of new manuals to our collection--but wait! That includes publications like this Norelco Reporte...
10/02/2020

We've just added dozens of new manuals to our collection--but wait! That includes publications like this Norelco Reporter from 1954 exploring uses of the electron microscope. Search here https://history.nih.gov/display/history/Manuals

It’s hard to believe that in just one lifetime—80 years—this country setting became the bustling campus of the NIH in Be...
10/01/2020

It’s hard to believe that in just one lifetime—80 years—this country setting became the bustling campus of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. This field was part of the Tree Tops estate that Luke and Helen Wilson donated to the federal government. “There are only three reasons anyone would want to own an estate: You can raise chickens, raise children or raise hell. I think we’re a little too close to the highway for any of these, and thus I decided to give the land to the government for NIH," Helen Wilson is supposed to have explained to a roomful of her friends and neighbors.

(Quote from “Slice of 1930s Saved: Last of ‘Treetops,’[sic] Bldg. 15K is Refurbished,” by Carla Garnett, NIH Record, May 29, 2001, page 1)

Looking comfy in that mod dentist’s chair! Dentists could find everything for their practices in this 1965 catalog. We h...
09/29/2020

Looking comfy in that mod dentist’s chair! Dentists could find everything for their practices in this 1965 catalog. We have one of the biggest collections of 20th and 21st century trade catalogs for biomedical research needs in the world, including laboratory and clinical equipment. And we’ve recently added a few hundred more: https://history.nih.gov/display/history/Trade+Catalogs

“It's not necessarily about what an individual does, but about how one can create a collaborative effort so that you hav...
09/24/2020

“It's not necessarily about what an individual does, but about how one can create a collaborative effort so that you have a lot of expertise focused on the same problem, and that's really the way the [NIH] Clinical Center facilitates research in such an important way. You've got all these people who work in different areas, but when they come together it is really a force that's much greater than any individual.” Dr. Phillip Gorden, former director of NIDDK. Watch his new oral history on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv-r7Ja0OTk

Dr. Harvey Alter won the Lasker Award 20 years ago today for his studies at the NIH Clinical Center that uncovered the c...
09/22/2020

Dr. Harvey Alter won the Lasker Award 20 years ago today for his studies at the NIH Clinical Center that uncovered the causes and reduced the risks of transfusion-associated hepatitis. Because of his work, the U.S. instituted blood and donor screening programs that have increased the safety of the blood supply. Alter then helped to identify hepatitis C virus. His oral histories are two of hundreds with NIH scientists and policy-makers on our web page https://history.nih.gov/display/history/Oral+and+Collected+Histories

Sometimes during a tour of the NIH campus, you will hear that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) sat with Luke an...
09/17/2020

Sometimes during a tour of the NIH campus, you will hear that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) sat with Luke and Helen Wilson on the front porch of the house on the land they had donated for the NIH campus. While discussing the needs of the nation, Roosevelt grabs a napkin and draws a plan for a hospital for the U.S. Navy right across the road from the NIH!

Did this really happen? Or is this tale just a way for the NIH to insert itself into the origin story of the Naval Medical Center, now the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center? Find out the truth on our NIH Folklore page https://history.nih.gov/display/history/FDR,+the+Wilsons,+and+the+U.S.+Naval+Medical+Center

This looks like a land-line telephone cord, but it’s an expandable and contractable stent that was patented by Drs. Theo...
09/15/2020

This looks like a land-line telephone cord, but it’s an expandable and contractable stent that was patented by Drs. Theodor Kolobow and Jeffrey Y. Wang (NHLBI) 20 years ago. The stent is coiled around a catheter that positions the stent where it needs to go, perhaps to hold an artery open during a heart bypass operation. The stent is then expanded for the operation but can be contracted to be removed when the operation is over. You never know what you may discover when you explore our collections at https://onih.pastperfectonline.com/

“I started by sticking these [screening tags] in a circle on my dashboard after the end of every shift and they started ...
09/10/2020

“I started by sticking these [screening tags] in a circle on my dashboard after the end of every shift and they started curling with the heat and sun in my car. I soon started to see something beautiful during this trying pandemic,” an NIH Clinical Center staffer told us in his submission to “Behind the Mask: Real Stories from NIH Staff About Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” https://history.nih.gov/display/history/Behind+the+Mask

Two nurses on the NIH Clinical Center Intensive Care Unit team suit up in their personal protective equipment. When aske...
09/08/2020

Two nurses on the NIH Clinical Center Intensive Care Unit team suit up in their personal protective equipment. When asked what it was like to continue working on campus, one of the nurses replied that it was nice to begin a 12-hour shift caring for patients by not having to worry about parking. The photo is a submission to our initiative entitled “Behind the Mask: Real Stories from NIH Staff About Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
https://history.nih.gov/display/history/Behind+the+Mask

A little scene from the wilder side of the NIH campus. This stream runs unseen by the cars on Rockville Pike.
08/27/2020

A little scene from the wilder side of the NIH campus. This stream runs unseen by the cars on Rockville Pike.

Address

1 Cloister Court, NIH
Bethesda, MD
20814

The office in located on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, on the red line of Metro and several bus lines. Please see the NIH main page for visitor information.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(301) 496-6610

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Office of NIH History posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Office of NIH History:

Videos

Category

Nearby museums


Other Museums in Bethesda

Show All

Comments

Since trying to trace in the largest cities I imagine would be difficult. Why not take the tracing technologies and economic boost to less populated areas of the country. Especially the states that are projected by the WH to be hardest hit by the downturn in these difficult times. The research would improve the ability for the second wave of this Covid-19 pandemic. All without overreacting.