October 19th, 2022
West Virginia University Libraries extends an open invitation to the dedication of the William A. Neal Museum of the Health Sciences on Oct. 28 from 2-4 p.m. in the WVU Health Sciences Center, adjacent to the Pylons Commons.
The museum was conceptualized by the late Dr. William A. Neal, pediatric cardiologist, author of “Quiet Advocate: Edward J. Van Liere’s Influence on Medical Education in West Virginia” and distinguished WVU School of Medicine alumnus.
“The Neal Museum is a wonderful place to explore the history of health sciences in West Virginia and at WVU,” Lori Hostuttler, interim director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center, said. “There’s so much history included there, and it is just the beginning of the story. We’re excited for the future of the Neal Museum and the opportunity to share more about West Virginia’s history.”
The program begins at 2:15 p.m. and will honor the constant efforts of Neal in leading the Museum creation and its development in collaboration with the WVRHC.
The Neal Museum highlights West Virginia’s groundbreaking innovations and discoveries, chronicling breakthroughs from the frontier days in West Virginia to WVU’s modern advancements.
Tracing the history of the schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing and Public Health, added over the course of 150 years, exhibit goers will walk through a vast amount of history, while learning about West Virginia and Appalachia’s contributions to health care that not only impacted the region but the rest of the world.
The museum displays health-related artifacts, rare manuscripts and other holdings from WVU Libraries and the WVRHC, in addition to other items provided by faculty, alumni and friends of the University. Some features are available through touch screens making the exhibition more interactive.
“This history has rarely been researched in the past nor seen in exhibition form, so some of these stories are coming to light, for the first time, to the general public,” Elizabeth Satterfield, program assistant for the museum, said. “The Neal Museum of the Health Sciences is the culmination of years of research and efforts at West Virginia University.”
Neal made a remarkable impact here in West Virginia, founding the nation’s largest youth-based heart disease research initiative. Also, he was the first medical director of WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.
Neal passed away in January 2020 at 81 years old. The museum is named after him to honor his hard work, dedication, and passion for sharing with the world the contribution’s West Virginia has made to health care.
“The museum was his dream and history was something he loved,” Martha Mullet, Neal’s widow, said. “I am excited that it turned out the way it did. I am excited that my father’s medical bag, which I’ve had for 50 years, has found a place in it.”
Mullet is the daughter of the late Dr. Kermit Dilley who practiced medicine in Pocahontas County.