Civil War  |  Museum

National Museum of Health and Medicine


2500 Linden Lane
Silver Spring, MD 20910
United States

The Army Medical Museum (progenitor to today's National Museum of Health and Medicine) was founded in 1862 to collect "specimens of morbid anatomy . . . together with projectiles and foreign bodies removed" in order to improve the care of the soldiers during the Civil War. Early curators at the AMM solicited contributions from battlefield surgeons working throughout the Union Army. Their work was eventually compiled into the six-volume "The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion," published between 1870 and 1883. Today, the NMHM is home to five major research collections comprising more than 25 million objects, including thousands of Civil War-era anatomical specimens, photographs, medical illustrations and medical technology, such as field surgical kits and prosthetic devices. Among the most popular anatomical specimens and historical artifacts on display at the museum are those related to President Abraham Lincoln, including the bullet that ended his life and bone fragments and hair from the site of the wound. Also on display is the lower right leg of Major General Daniel E. Sickles, who was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg. After his leg was amputated, he required that it be sent to the Army Medical Museum in a small box bearing a calling card with the message, "With the compliments of Major General D.E.S.'