Medical History Museum
Explore Medical History
Free of charge and open to the public, the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare
System Museum of Medical History strives to provide a window to our scientific
past so that we can more easily understand and contribute to the continued
progress of healthcare. It is our goal to spark an interest, especially
in children and young people, in careers in science and medicine.
The Museum offers a rare and interesting look at the evolution of medicine
and medical equipment over the past three centuries. Displays are experienced
via informative, easy-to-read text and recorded narration. You'll
discover antique and obsolete medical instruments and equipment dating
back as far as the 1700s along with memorabilia and various items used
in local hospitals during the past 100 years.
Some of the displays you'll see at the Museum of Medical History include:
- A Civil War surgical kit
- A doctor's office circa 1920 featuring furniture and instruments used
to perform a tonsillectomy.
- Surgery display complete with an operating table owned by Dr. Henry Murphy,
John Steinbeck's family doctor. Other larger diagnostic machines are
- Two cases of medical items dating from the 1700s to World War I (1918)
including many instruments used during the Civil War.
- Display of memorabilia spanning the 60-year history of the Salinas Valley
Memorial Hospital Service League, and the nursing profession.
Located in the Downing Resource Center (Basement Level of Parking Structure—enter
from Wilgart Way and use our free valet parking)
Self-guided tours available 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The programs and the museum are sponsored by Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
Service League, Foundation Volunteer Services Department, and Medical Staff.
Guided tours or Children's Educational Interactive Tours are led by
volunteer docents. Currently, school tours are designed for second and
third-grade students. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact
the Volunteer Services Department at 831-755-0772 or
If you would like to volunteer as a docent or in one of many other exciting
areas of the Service League, please contact the Volunteer Services Office
at 831-755-0772 or
click here to fill out an application.