Saturday, August 27, 2011
The Museum in the Hospital
The DeLand Memorial Hospital Museum in DeLand Florida is an interesting gathering of collections in a restored 1920s hospital. I saw pictures of some of the ephemera in a friends blog, and it has been on my list every since.
Located in Dreggors Park, the building itself served s a hospital from 1922 to 1948 when the hospital was moved to DeLand Naval Air Station. After a brief stint as a frat house for Stetson University, the building was used by the School Board until it was restored in 1993. It is now on the Historic Register.
The museum is housed in the 2nd and 3rd floor and a docent has to let you in to each exhibit. Our tour started with a tour of a recreation of Former US Ambassador Bert Fish's office. In addition to a fine career in the diplomatic service, Fish was a philanthropist and according to our guide, opened up oil drilling for US companies in Saudi Arabia.
The next gallery was a re-creation of a 1920's operating room with life sized mannequins performing surgery. Next up was the gallery of Ice and Electricity which was mainly comprised of a huge collection of insulators of all shapes and sizes. The small town of DeLand was actually the first city in Florida with an electrical system and the generator was the 3rd or 4th one ever made by Thomas Edison.
There were two large galleries of World War I and World War II memorabilia, each stuffed with great artifacts and models. The tour then led to a re-creation of a 1920s doctors office and then to another building that housed the Hawtense Conrad Elephant Fantasyland.
My overall impression is that I enjoyed looking at these collections amassed by individuals who were obviously very passionate about the objects they accumulated. They all fit together to give a fairly good history of the area in an interesting, visual way. The docent was a colorful character and I recommend making a stop there if you are in the DeLand area.