Providing Care

The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry will be closed to the public Monday, September 2nd, in observance of the Labor Day Holiday. We will reopen Tuesday, September, 3rd at our normal time. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Photograph of antique x-ray machine in display case

From ancient cultures to the modern dental office, unearth the progression of people and their teeth.  Learn about the world’s first dental college, the “Father of Modern Dentistry,” and what dentists have done in their free time.


Etruscan Bridge – Everyone wants a perfect smile with no missing teeth, even the Etruscans, an ancient civilization from Italy that predates the Romans.  Instead of dentures, they would “bridge” the gap between teeth by connecting replacement teeth to the remaining teeth using gold bands.

Antique Anesthetic Needles – Laughing gas and Xylocaine were not always options for numbing the pain.  Different anesthetics from the drug cocaine to different chemical combinations were used to numb the mouth before painful procedures.


To the left: Robert H. Machlett. X-ray tube. c. 1913.


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Support the engaging exhibitions and innovative programs that promote the importance of oral health in a healthy life to audiences across the country by becoming a member.


Support the Museum
Inspire people to make healthy choices about oral health by supporting the museum.


Smithsonian Affiliate Membership
The University of Maryland, Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry is a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.