Crime Show Fodder Comes to Real Life in New TMA Exhibit

Nov. 7, 2013

The History of Forensic Medicine

 Kennedy Assassination Display Part of Exhibition  


  • WHAT: Forensics experts peer into microscopes to solve crimes almost nightly on television. How did forensic medicine, which has revolutionized investigations, begin? The Texas Medical Association (TMA) answers that and more with its new History of Medicine exhibit, “Bugs, Bones, and Blood,” which examines forensic medicine — the search for truth when someone dies suddenly or mysteriously.  

    Who knew that the first forensic report determining someone’s cause of death was about Julius Caesar, 2,500 years ago? (The reporting physician assessed a stab wound in Caesar’s chest — one of 23 wounds he suffered — that killed him.) And few realize that Paul Revere was the first to use dental records to identify a deceased person — after the Battle of Bunker Hill of the American Revolution.

    “Bugs, Bones, and Blood” showcases stories like these in chronicling the evolution of forensic medicine from 5,000 years ago to present day. Investigative tools used in clinical pathology like autopsy, fingerprinting, and use of DNA, which seem commonplace today, result from the work of forensic pioneers.

    The exhibit also examines two monumental events in Texas’ history: the Texas City Disaster of 1947 — the worst industrial accident in American history — and President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  

    The exhibit includes images and artifacts from the TMA Archives, as well as contributions from the Blocker History of Medicine Collections, Moody Medical Library, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Moore Memorial Library in Texas City; The Sherlock Holmes Society of Austin; the Texas Department of Public Safety Historical Museum, Austin; the Dallas Public Library; and UT Southwestern Library Archives, Dallas.

  • WHEN: Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm (except holidays) through October 2014 for self-guided tours. Admission is free.  

    o schedule a guided group tour, email Betsy Tyson, TMA Knowledge Center archivist and exhibits coordinator, or call (512) 370-1552. 

  • WHERE: TMA building, 401 W. 15th St., TMA History of Medicine Gallery, First Floor


TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.


Contact: Pam Udall (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 413-6807; email:
Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email:

Click here to follow TMA on Twitter. Or visit TMA on Facebook.
Check out for interesting and timely news on health care issues and policy.

News media: Please enter TMA’s Anson Jones, MD, Awards competition in January – learn more here.

Comment on this (Must be logged in to comment)

Add Comment

Text Only 2000 character limit

Looking for more?