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National Hansen's Disease Museum

Collections & Exhibitions

  • Photographs, Oral Histories and Video taken after Hurricane Katrina Exit Disclaimer
    Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, Carville, Louisiana became the temporary home for thousands of National Guard troops and public health officials assisting with relief efforts. Museum Curator Elizabeth Schexnyder saw this as an opportunity to take oral histories of the visiting military and medical personnel, as well as volunteer rescue and relief workers. The collection comprises 25 oral histories in digital audio files without transcripts.
    Curator Schexnyder and friend Steven Singerman also photographed hurricane damage in nearby areas, including St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes and New Orleans. The photographs are organized by photographer and by location. Schexnyder also recorded 15 minutes of digital video of the destruction in Delacroix, Louisiana in St. Bernard Parish.
    The final section of the collection includes documents written by the curator that describe the transformation of Carville following Katrina and provide a history of the museum complex.

Exhibits

  • 100 Years of Carville History Timeline
  • U.S. Public Health Service
  • Recreation of a Patient's Room, circa 1940's
  • Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (see the Daughters of Charity Web site Exit Disclaimer)
  • Stanley Stein & The Star Magazine
  • Medical Adaptations & Treatment
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)
  • Photography and Site History of Carville
  • Patients' Stories & Patient Advocacy
  • Carville Culture: Organizations, Activities & Entertainment
  • Federal Civil Service Employees
  • new HD Ready Reference
  • new X-Rays: Bones Changes in Leprosy

Collections

Photographs

Images created by amateur and professional photographers, medical personnel and the Daughters of Charity. Subjects include:

  • The hospital grounds and buildings
  • Patients' recreation and organizations
  • Holidays / Religious services
  • Veterans organizations
  • Daughters of Charity
  • Public Health Service
  • Patients' housing
  • Medical treatment

Also see The Carville Collection in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library Exit Disclaimer key word search: Carville / leprosarium / leprosy

Slide Shows

  • new Clinical Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)
  • More than 17,000 digital files in the collection
  • Photographs from the 1930's to the 1950's, digitized and displayed on an island of computers in the main exhibit area
  • Most taken by patient photographers Johnny Harmon, Charles Marshall and Daughter of Charity Sr. Hilary Ross

Video

Shown in the Museum's 12-seat Media Viewing Room

  • Known Simply to the Rest of the World as Carville (30 minutes), National Hansen's Disease Program
  • Exiles in Our Own Country, 1995 (60 minutes), IDEA
  • Carville Brief: The Site, 1996 (4 minutes), National Hansen's Disease Program
  • new The Story of Paul and Margaret Brand (three 30-minute segments), RBC Ministries.
  • new Clinical Leprosy slide show

Cultural Artifacts

  • Many donated or on loan from patients and former employees
  • Patient artwork
  • Mardi Gras costumes and float
  • Handmade lamps, jewelry boxes
  • Bicycles and scooter used by patients
  • Ham radio set

Medical Artifacts

  • Medicines used in treatment of hansen's disease (leprosy) through the years
  • Laboratory instruments used in research
  • Medical adaptations designed¬† for patients with insensitive and disfigured hands including scissors, eating utensils and keys
  • Innovative button hooks, zipper pulls and the "Carville sandal"
  • Unique hand-cranked wheelchairs, an ambulance basket and morgue furnishings

Publications

  • The 66 Star (1931 - 1934). Bimonthly mimeographs (4-6 pages per issue). Forerunner of The STAR magazine. A patient-produced newsletter featuring hospital news, hand drawn illustrations, gossip and entertainment. The newsletter ceased publication after a controversial editorial by Stanley Stein on "Leper's Mass."
  • The STAR (1941 - present). Volumes 1 to 60. Magazine published bimonthly by the patients of the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital, Carville, Louisiana. The STAR's mission:"Radiating the Light of Truth on Hansen's Disease." Stanley Stein, editor, was an early advocate of changing the name of leprosy to Hansen's disease. Major indexed headings:
    • Associations, Clubs, Foundations, Institutes, Organizations
    • Awards, Citations
    • Communications, Media
    • Hansen's Disease
    • USPHS Hospital, Carville
    • USPHS Hospital, Patient

Daughters of Charity Archives

  • Daybooks, hospital histories and photograph albums compiled by the nursing order of the Daughters of Charity of St. VIncent de Paul. The first four Sisters began their mission at Carville in April of 1896. The mission closed in February of 2005. The Sisters served as nurses, teachers, medical researchers, pharmacists, medical librarians and confidants to the patients. The collection is not indexed.