The Center for the History of Medicine offers tours that highlight the rich historical resources held by the Countway Library. The number of tours we can provide depends on staff availability, which changes throughout the year; for this reason, we invite all inquiries, but must prioritize requests from:

  • Harvard's Medical, Dental, and Public Health schools, and all other Harvard University faculty, staff, and students.
  • History of Medicine or History of Science and Technology educator and educational groups from greater Boston area colleges and universities.
  • Residents, physicians, and medical professionals of Harvard-affiliated and greater Boston hospitals.
  • K-12 educators and classroom groups.

The Center builds tours around many of its programmatic and collecting activities. Tours generally last about 45 minutes depending on the interests of the group. Tours generally fall into the following five categories:

  • "Collection Highlights" tours of well-known Center holdings.
  • Guided tours of a current exhibit mounted at the Countway Library, which often highlight Harvard Medical School history and faculty.
  • Gallery of the Center for the History of Medicine tours, which involve a tour of the permanent exhibition on the 5th floor of the Countway Library and covers the history of anatomical teaching at Harvard Medical School, the technological innovations of the Harvard health sciences community, and the case of Phineas Gage.
  • Public heath tours that highlight the history and faculty accomplishments of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
  • Tours that tell the history of women in medicine at the Harvard Medical School.
  • Prospective donor tours, which offer opportunities for donors to learn more about the Center, its operations, and its collections.

Please keep in mind:

  • We schedule group visits according to staff availability. The Center provides tours at its discretion.
  • Submit requests for tours at least two weeks in advance of when you would like to visit.
  • Groups of more than seven people, classes, field trips, and other types of tour groups are REQUIRED to make an appointment to tour the the Gallery of the Center for the History of Medicine. Security will not let groups larger than seven enter the building to visit the Gallery.
  • Gallery Tour groups cannot exceed twenty people.
  • Please have several dates available to propose when you request a tour.
  • We will not give a tour if a fee is being charged by another party to arrange the tour. The Center's tours and educational programs are free.
  • Individuals scheduling tours should try to visit the Gallery in advance to make sure the experience will serve the needs of their group.

To request a tour, please contact us. Be sure to include the type of tour you'd like to schedule in the subject line of your message.