WVU to celebrate opening of William A. Neal Museum of the Health Sciences

Dedication ceremony scheduled for Oct. 28

West Virginia University Libraries and WVU Health Sciences will hold a dedication ceremony to celebrate the William A. Neal Museum of the Health Sciences on Friday, Oct. 28 from 2-4 p.m. in the Health Sciences Center Pylons Commons. The event is free and open to the public.

The ceremony will honor the efforts of the late Dr. William A. Neal in leading the museum’s creation and development in collaboration with the West Virginia and Regional History Center. The event will include remarks from E. Gordon Gee, WVU president; Dr. Clay Marsh, chancellor and executive dean for WVU Health Sciences; Karen Diaz, dean of WVU Libraries; Dr. Larry Schwab, School of Medicine alumnus; and Beth Neal Gonzales. A ribbon cutting, portrait unveiling, reception and self-guided tours of the museum will also take place. In addition, the Cook-Hayman Pharmacy Museum will be open following the ceremony.

The Museum of the Health Sciences highlights West Virginia’s groundbreaking innovations and discoveries, chronicling breakthroughs from the frontier days in West Virginia to WVU’s modern advancements.

Tracing the history of the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing and Public Health, added over the course of 150 years, exhibit visitors will walk through a vast amount of history, while learning about West Virginia and Appalachia’s contributions to health care that not only impacted the region, but the rest of the world.

“The Neal Museum is a wonderful place to explore the history of health sciences in West Virginia and at WVU,” Lori Hostuttler, interim director of the West Virginia and Regional History Center, said. “There’s so much history included there, and it is just the beginning of the story. We’re excited for the future of the Neal Museum and the opportunity to share more about West Virginia’s history.”

The museum displays health-related artifacts, rare manuscripts and other holdings from WVU Libraries and the West Virginia Regional History Center, in addition to other items provided by faculty, alumni and friends of the University. Some features are available through interactive touch screens.

“This history has rarely been researched in the past nor seen in exhibition form, so some of these stories are coming to light, for the first time, to the public,” Elizabeth Satterfield, program assistant for the museum, said. “The Neal Museum of the Health Sciences is the culmination of years of research and efforts at West Virginia University.”

Dr. Neal was a pediatric cardiologist, author of “Quiet Advocate: Edward J. Van Liere’s Influence on Medical Education in West Virginia” and distinguished WVU School of Medicine alumnus. He made a remarkable impact in West Virginia, founding the nation’s largest youth-based heart disease research initiative and serving as the first medical director of WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.

Neal passed away in January 2020 at 81 years old. The museum is named in his honor to recognize his hard work, dedication and passion for sharing with the world West Virginia’s contributions to health care.

“The museum was his dream and history was something he loved,” Martha Mullet, Neal’s widow, said. “I am excited that it turned out the way it did. I am excited that my father’s medical bag, which I’ve had for 50 years, has found a place in it.”

Mullet is the daughter of Dr. Kermit Dilley who practiced medicine in Pocahontas County.