Collections – Leech Jar Staffordshire, England, 1850

Hard to believe that leeches were kept in this beautiful jar! In the mid-19th century, medical practitioners used these blood-sucking worms as a cure-all, treating everything from boils to headaches. Today doctors continue to employ leeches, though not nearly as often! For example, leeches can be used to prevent tissue death by kick-starting blood flow… Continue reading

Collections – Galvanometer | Massachusetts, ca. 1930s

A galvanometer is an instrument used to indicate the presence, direction, or strength of an electric current. In 1820, scientists found the first connection between electricity and magnetism when they discovered that electric currents create magnetic fields. This particular galvanometer is an astatic galvanometer, which has two needles with opposite polarities that cancels out the… Continue reading

Collections – Fossilized turtle shell

This turtle shell was found in the Pine Ridge area of South Dakota, and dates to the Oligocene epoch (approximately 34 million years ago). The Badlands of South Dakota contains one of the largest deposits of Oligocene fossils in the world. The area is filled with marine fossils and turtle shells, evidence that the middle… Continue reading

Medical Collections Virtual Tour

Watch this special behind-the-scenes collections tour with our Collections Manager, Kristina Hampton. This tour focuses on our medical collection and as you might imagine, many of the items have a unique place in St. Louis history. This tour was part of a virtual member event that took place in April 2020. Connect with curiosity!

Collections – Kaiser-i-hind butterfly

Also known as ‘The Emperor of India,’ this rare and magnificent butterfly is found along the Eastern Himalayas. The Kaiser-i-hind is a type of swallowtail butterfly that lives exclusively in the higher elevation forests between 6,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level. Logging activities in the Himalayas have diminished the butterfly’s habitat and placed it… Continue reading