PICTURE OF HEALTH
IN THE AYRES ASSOCIATES GALLERY
Iron lung, 1945-52, used to treat polio patients at Luther Midelfort Hospital in Eau Claire. In 1951, the entire top floor of Luther Hospital was devoted to polio patients.
What is health? How do you go about it? What tools do you use to stay healthy?
A community-curated exhibit, Picture of Health explores how Chippewa Valley residents of all stripes have understood what it means to be healthy. From changing views on diet and exercise to global epidemics, see how people here have tried to remain a "picture of health." Come face to face with patent medicine containers, medical instruments, and even an iron lung, and then meet the people behind the care.
Picture of Health was created by Chippewa Valley Museum volunteers we call "community historians." The community historian program is open to the public and includes training in public history and museum research methods. This exhibit is part of a project that experiments with ways to bring the community historian program into other parts of museum work. Participants helped choose artifacts, write exhbit text, and design the gallery installations. The exhibit was funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council.
Community historian exhibit developers for Picture of Health were Amy Alpine, Kate Edenborg, Emma Felty, Joe Orser, Liz Reuter, Gretchen Seidling, and Angela Ziel.
Starting in 1882, eterprising Eau Claire druggist George Winslow sent chests full of his patent medicines to logging camps throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Washington state. Some of the medicines were meant for loggers, some for their horses, and a few—such as Winslow's Magentic Oil Liniment—were good "for man or beast."
"On route to Chippewa Falls": Ben Proctor, Myra Coffin, A. H. Shoemaker, and Sue Mason pause near the old Water Street Bridge in Eau Claire, 1897. Bicycles were a new invention in the late 19th century. Cycling was an ideal outdoor activity—if one could find a good enough road. The cyclists pictured here were headed to Chippewa Falls on a new five- mile path built exclusively for bicycles by the Eau Claire Cycle Club.
Trephine, 1940-1945. Used to drill a hole in bone, such as the skull. On display in Picture of Health.