From their leadership in the field of public health and their vision for telling its history, our founders included Chester “Chet” Kennedy, Helen Meltzer, and Carolyn “Hooky” Darack and others, bore the nation’s first museum dedicated to telling the history of public health.

The Public Health Museum opened on September 30, 1994, the 100th anniversary year of the Old Administration building at the historic Tewksbury Hospital, where the Museum is housed.

The mission of the Public Health Museum is two-fold: to educate the public about the achievements and contributions of public health in preventing disease and improving the health of individuals and communities in Massachusetts and worldwide; and to inspire students, researchers, health care workers and public health professionals to build upon the past and continue to advance the future of public health.

The Public Health Museum in Massachusetts is the first museum in the United States dedicated to honoring the achievements of those pioneers in public health who worked to secure the health and well-being of our local communities.

The Museum occupies six rooms on the ground floor of the Old Administration Building and includes both permanent and temporary exhibits.

Exhibits include:

  • History of Public Health Hospitals
  • Infectious Diseases (Tuberculosis, Smallpox, Polio)
  • Patent Medicines
  • Mental Health
  • Public Health Nursing & Education
  • Dental Health
  • ….And more!

The museum is staffed by the Board of Directors, an Administrative Assistant and volunteers.


It hosts groups from public and private secondary schools, civic organizations, medical schools, colleges and individuals interested in public health.  Visitors have come from all of the New England States and as distant as California and Japan.  As awareness of the Museum increases, so have donations of antique medical equipment, displays and paraphernalia to the museum for its use.



To learn more about the history of the Tewksbury Hospital, click the photo below: