Joan Echtenkamp Klein
It is a pleasure to feature in each issue of Hospital Drive one of Historical Collections’ nearly forty online exhibits on history of medicine and healthcare in the United States. The exhibits were all created by Historical Collections staff.
The consistently high number of visitors to the online exhibits provides evidence that the topics and collections we find timely and interesting also strike visitors the same way. We strive to always provide context for the books, documents, and artifacts we feature in the online exhibits. We receive numerous reference queries and comments on the exhibits from an international community, which lets us know that visitors spend considerable time reading and viewing what we have spent hours, days, weeks, often months digitizing, researching, and creating. We know that our online exhibits are being used by scholars to write books and by students to write papers and are read in detail by the general public interested in medical and social history. We are encouraged by the viewers’ confirmation that we are providing an educational service in a creative way.
Many visitors come to Historical Collections through a virtual front door by way of our online exhibits. We love providing digital access to our unique collections to those who are not able to visit our physical space and touch the rare books, peruse the manuscripts, or feel the artifacts. We also welcome corporeal researchers to the Wilhelm Moll Rare Book and Medical History Room on the ground floor of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, a lovely physical space that we feel fortunate to call our home.
Joan Echtenkamp Klein is the Alvin V. & Nancy Baird Curator for Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, at the University of Virginia.