New Virtual Dental Museum Highlights Dental History Online

Five new exhibits showcasing fascinating artifacts of dental history can now be viewed on a new website, dentalmuseum.pacific.edu. The exhibits are also on display on digital kiosks located on the first and fourth floors of the dental school. The work is part of the ongoing virtual museum project, which began in 2012 as a creative way to present the school’s A.W. Ward Museum of Dentistry Collection. For the past two years, Dr. Dorothy Dechant, museum curator, has been working closely with school photographer Jon Draper to carefully photograph artifacts of all shapes and sizes—from tiny dental burs to heavy antique dental chairs.

Viewers can browse through five exhibits: “Please Have A Seat: Evolution of the Dental Chair,” “A Dynamic Decade: Speeding Up the Handpiece,” “Painless Promises: Business Cards of the Victorian Dentist,” “Still Lives in Dentistry: The Artifacts” and “There & Back Again: Our San Francisco Story.”

The idea for the virtual museum took shape as the school was determining how the museum would transition to its space in the new school building. A virtual presentation was the creative solution that would allow broader access to the museum and digitally showcase artifacts that have been in storage due to space limitations. A team of colleagues in the Design and Photo, Marketing and Communications and Information Technology divisions worked with Dechant to create the website and kiosk exhibits.

The idea for the virtual museum took shape as the school was determining how the museum would transition to its space in the new school building.

The A.W. Ward Museum of Dentistry Collection was founded in 1974 in honor of one of the school’s early graduates and a pioneer of surgical periodontics, Dr. Abraham Wesley Ward, P&S Class of 1902. Most of the artifacts date from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s.

The school’s Institute of Dental History and Craniofacial Study maintains four collections, the A.W. Ward Museum of Dentistry being one, to support the preservation and study of dental history, craniofacial biology and evolution. Students, researchers and dental professionals interested in studying the collections may contact Dr. Dorothy Dechant, museum curator, at 415.929.6627 or ddechant@pacific.edu.