The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, a Smithsonian Institute Affiliate, and currently operated by the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, is a lively national center where visitors learn the importance of a healthy smile and the rich history of dentistry, a history that coincides with the world’s first dental school, The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, and its imprint on advancing oral health knowledge, education, and practices.
1823-1825: An excerpt from page 8 of the Official Publication of the University of Maryland issued by the School of Dentistry and the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1923 states, "The first lectures on dentistry in America were delivered by Dr. Horace H. Hayden in the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, between the years 1823-25."
November 3, 1840: After a request to create a Dental Department at the University of Maryland was denied, the Baltimore College of Dentistry (BCDS) was founded by Dr. Horace H. Hayden and Chapin A. Harris, with Harris providing the first lecture to five students on November 3, 1840.
1845-1923: The first mention of a museum for the dental school was in the BCDS' 6th Annual Announcment. A pattern that continued until the consolidation of BCDS and the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.
1882-1923: In March, 1882, the University of Maryland acquired a charter from the state legislature to be add a dental department to the School of Medicine. According to the University of Maryland Dental Department's 1st Annual Announcement, a museum was part of that addition.
1903: The "New Dental Building" for the University of Maryland, School of Dentistry" was erected "on an elevated site at the N.E. corner of Lombard and Greene sts.," containing a "large and interesting Dental Museum of the University" that "contains many specimens of peculiar interest to the dental student, and compares favorably, on account of the large donations of valuable dental, pathological and other specimens recieved from this and foreign countries, with that of any other dental institution." This site would later be chosen as the location for the National Museum of Dentistry.
1895-1913: In 1895, with construction of the Baltimore Medical College's College Building No. 2, the College added a Dental Department to its curriculum, and with it a collection of specimens, pathological productions, models, and casts from the dental field to its already existing museum. The College and, presumably, its museum were consolidated with the University of Maryland in 1913.
1923-Present: After years of competition, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and the University of Maryland Dental Department reached a merger agreement, which not only included the merger of both universities, but of the museum collections as well.
1996: On June 21, 1996, after decades of planning to the establish a National Museum of Dentistry, the current location had its grand opening.
2003: During the 108th Session of Congress, a Joint Resolution was passed on November 11 to recognize the Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, "as the official national museum of dentistry in the United States."
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The University of Maryland, Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry is a proud affilliate of the Smithsonian Institution.