The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is a lively national center where visitors learn the importance of a healthy smile and the rich history of dentistry. Considered America’s premier national museum dedicated to dental history, dentistry, and oral health, 7,000 square feet of exhibition space offers visitors an extraordinary array of historic artifacts and interactive exhibitions that inspire people to make healthy choices about oral health.
Opened in 1996, the museum received Congressional designation as the official museum of the dental profession in the United States. The museum’s extensive 40,000 object collection of dental instruments, furniture, and artwork is one of the most important and oldest in the world. A substantial portion of the core collection traces its roots to the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the world’s first college of dentistry, founded in 1840.
Highlights include George Washington’s ivory denture, Queen Victoria’s personal dental instruments, and an extraordinary collection of toothbrushes ranging from the 1800s to the present. The museum is also a center for learning for children, featuring school tours throughout the year, and entertaining and interactive exhibits that teach the importance of oral health to a healthy life.
The National Museum of Dentistry also develops traveling exhibitions that tour children’s and science museums and dental schools throughout the United States and Canada, providing the public with engaging information about oral health.
The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry is located on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, home of the world’s first dental school (est. 1840). George C. Haskell, a well-known Baltimore architect, designed the four-story building in the Roman Renaissance-revival style, constructed in 1904 to house the Dental Department of the University of Maryland. For 25 years the Dental Department occupied the space which covers more than 21,000 square feet. In 1992, the University of Maryland Board of Regents approved the naming and use of the building as The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry.