Webster Hosts Traveling Nursing Exhibition from National Library of Medicine

A photo of the Traveling Nurse Exhibit, displayed in Webster's Emerson Library.

Webster University’s Library has been selected to host a traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine. The exhibition focuses on the history of nursing, displayed artistically through a collection of postcards dated between 1893 – 2011 and gathered by American nurse and collector Michael Zwerdling, RN. Sections of the exhibit focus on service, gender, race, and portrayals of nurses in popular culture. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, the postcard is a fleeting and widespread art form influenced by popular ideas about social and cultural life in addition to fashions in visual style. Nurses and nursing have been the frequent subjects of postcards for over 100 years. No other art form has illustrated the nursing profession so profusely using such a variety of artistic styles and images. 

The images featured in this exhibition of nurses and nursing are informed by cultural values; ideas about women, men, and work; and by attitudes toward class, race, and national differences. By documenting the relationship of nursing to significant forces in 20th-century life, such as war and disease, these postcards reveal how nursing was seen during those times. 

An image from the Traveling Nurse Exhibition on Webster's campus.

The exhibit will be on display on the first floor of Webster University’s Emerson Library through Saturday, December 23. The exhibition is free and open during library hours. University guests may park in the visitor section in the Garden Park Plaza garage and get a day pass from Public Safety to enter the library, or visit during special public viewing hours: 

Friday, Nov. 17: 12 – 5 p.m. 
Saturday, Nov. 18: 12 – 5 p.m. 
Sunday, Nov. 19: 12 – 5 p.m. 
Friday, Dec. 1: 12 – 5 p.m. 
Saturday, Dec. 2: 12 – 5 p.m. 
Sunday, Dec. 3: 12 – 5 p.m. 

A companion website for the exhibition is available here.

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