Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Health for Sale" Poster Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

From April 1 to July 31, 2011, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be hosting an exhibition entitled  "Health for Sale: Posters from the William H. Helfand Collection." Several of the images are available for viewing on-line at the PMA website. This exhibition presents some fifty of the nearly two hundred posters in this collection, only a small fraction of the materials Helfand, a former Merck executive, has collected. The posters address a wide range of topics, such as promoting hygiene, announcing medical conferences, and advertising miracle cures. An extended interview with Helfand can be found at the Design Observer, which also includes selected images. An exhibition catalog has been published by Yale University Press.
   Other useful sources for medical images, not limited to posters, include the Wellcome Library in London and the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. Such materials are of interest to business historians because details of the early pharmaceutical trade and medical profession can often be found within these images.