Mind-altering drugs have been used throughout the history of America. While some remain socially acceptable, others are outlawed because of their toxic and intoxicating characteristics. These classifications have shifted at different times in history and will continue to change. The traveling exhibition Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions, on display at the Library through August 24, explores the factors that have shaped the changing definitions of some of our most potent drugs. Six banners cover the historical uses and abuses of alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, marijuana, and opium.
Library faculty and staff created a resource guide and displays highlighting Library resources in toxicology and related subjects: http://guides.lsuhsc.edu/pickyourpoison.
Additionally, LSU Health Shreveport faculty members Dr. Mark Ryan and Dr. Tom Arnold have kindly lent the Library a sample of their vintage poison bottle collection, to display for this exhibit. Their collection includes bottles from the 19th and 20th centuries, from both the United States and Great Britain. Two bottles on display in the Library were also on display at the National Library of Medicine in 2008.
A "Digital Gallery" offering a selection of digitized, historical texts from the History of Medicine Division's diverse collections can be found as part of the online version of the exhibition at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/pickyourpoison.
This exhibition was produced by the National Library of Medicine and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Curated by Manon Parry, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public History, University of Amsterdam.