Traces the regional development of medicine from the end of the Civil War to the dawn of the twentieth century. Can you imagine sewing up a surgical incision with horsehair? Can you imagine the doctor coming to you for a house call when you are not feeling well? Highlights exhibit include a restored ca. 1890s doctor’s buggy, an extensive collection patent medicine bottles, vintage instruments and puzzling medical devices of years long since passed.

19th Century Eye Surgery Instruments


These delicate and finely crafted instruments used to perform eye circa 1890.  The bone handles are more than decorative.  They were lightweight, easily handled and capable of being sterilized.  The steel and brass were the same.  Many of these style instruments were used well into the 20th century, but are now routinely replaced by the latest laser technology for eye surgery.

Many companies made surgical instruments like these throughout the 19th Century.  Often the instrument was made by individual craftsmen on orders from doctors themselves.  Sometimes surgeon would even develop their own style of instrument.  The wooden box would fit into a doctor’s bag and often be carried to the patient.  The surgery would be done at patient’s home sometimes without anesthetic.

Eye surgery dates back to 800 B.C.  Many of the important breakthroughs, however, have only come in the past 200 years, or even in the past 20.  The treatment of cataracts is now done in minutes at a ophthalmologist’s office with results for the patient almost immediate.

Location in Museum

Medicine in the New South case


Circa 1890

100 Years