The Adler Museum of Medicine, which is housed on campus as a part of the medical school in Parktown and is funded by the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits University in Johannesburg, houses a collection of over 40 000 items that depict the history of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy through the ages. In terms of modern medicine, the Adler Museum is a real mine of information. In addition to the vast collection mentioned above, there are other items related to medical history including records, photographs, films, sculptures, philatelic and medallion collections, and a library of rare literature.
There are replicas of an early Johannesburg pharmacy, dental office, doctor’s office, and optometry display if you’re truly into medical or just want to see how far we’ve come. There are also exhibits of a few alternative treatments, like acupuncture, Chinese medicine (which, let’s face it, has been around a lot longer than modern western medicine), Tibb, and Ayurveda, just in case you thought this was a fairly one-sided picture of holistic care.
The Adler Museum also pays attention to its past. With representations of an African herb shop and a sangoma attending to a patient, traditional medicinal practices in South Africa are also shown. Viewing a specifically commissioned handwritten Hippocratic Oath and the original coat of arms of the South African Society of Psychiatrists are additional benefits of visiting the museum.
In addition to this, the museum organizes public lectures, tailored school visits, movie screenings, and transient exhibitions on a variety of topics.