The Health Museum
The Health Museum is located in Houston's museum district and is across the street from the Children's Museum of Houston. It is an institution of the Texas Medical Center. Its goal is to educate the public about the human body, human health and the medical sciences through interactive science exhibits. Over 180,000 people visit the museum each year including 22,000 schoolchildren on field trips. As such, it is one of most visited attractions in the city.
Backstory and Context
The museum's history goes back 1962 when the city initiated the "Victory Over Polio" campaign. A committee of concerned citizens recommended the creation of a public, permanent exhibits about the eradication of polio. This came to fruition in 1969 when the Museum of Medical Science opened in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This arrangement lasted for 21 years, at the end of which the new museum was built. In 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2015 the museum expanded its size and scope. Since its opening in 1996, the museum has seen 2.5 million visitors.
The Health Museum’s primary objective is to become the premiere vessel by which families and individuals can come to a full comprehension of their bodies, take proactive measures to maintain healthy living conditions, and to live longer, counteracting the high and rising costs of health management.
The museum offers a number of unique exhibits and programs. Among the highlights of the museum is the exhibit that allows visitors to "walk through the body." This larger-than-life walking tour examines the body through 30 interactive kiosks and videos that guide the participants through bodily functions and drive interesting conversations on human anatomy and health information.In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Amazing Body Pavilion and You: the Exhibit, other attractions include the McGovern 4D Theater, the Sue Trammel Whitfield Gallery, seasonal exhibits and learning centers. The Amazing Body Store also provides unique health-related gifts.
For adults and the community, the museum offers health fairs and other community outreach programs, as well as family workshops where children and their parents can enjoy an interactive presentation and hands-on organ dissection. For those who want more, the museum offers a four day conference for the academically-gifted High school students with an interest in the medical sciences. There is also support for the home-school community with classes, dissections, and a biological physics series for kids from preschool through high school.