The Health Museum is Houston's most interactive science learning center and a member institution of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center. Located in the heart of the city's rich and varied Museum District, The Health Museum's mission is to foster wonder and curiosity about health, medical science and the human body. The Museum treasures Houston’s diverse population and welcomes individuals of all backgrounds.
The Health Museum currently serves more than 180,000 visitors annually, including more than 22,000 schoolchildren in organized field trips. Since our grand opening in 1996, we have seen more than 2.5 million visitors and counting. The Health Museum is the most visited health museum of its kind in the country and one of the top public attractions in the Houston area.
The Health Museum is committed to excellence in innovative and interactive health and science educational experiences such as:
- A hands-on walk through the human body
- New and exciting traveling exhibits
- Real organ dissections
- Science mini-classes and mini-med schools
- Health fairs and community outreach
- Family science labs
- School field trips
- Home school classes and programs
- Scout programs
- Discovery camps
In addition to our permanent exhibits, the DeBakey Cell Lab, Amazing Body Gallery and You: The Exhibit, other attractions include the McGovern 4D Theater, the Sue Trammell Whitfield Gallery, for seasonal exhibits, and learning centers. The museum offers affordable membership rates for individuals and families. Visitors enjoy shopping for unique gifts at the museum's Amazing Body Store.
As a result of the 1962 "Victory Over Polio" campaign, sponsored by the Harris County Medical Society and the Junior Chamber of Commerce, a citizens committee consisting of George Morse, Oveta Culp Hobby, Morgan Davis and Gail Whitcomb recommended that permanent health exhibits be constructed for public display. With funds raised through public contributions to the polio immunization program, along with contributions from physicians and a grant from Houston Endowment Inc., the Harris County Medical Society initiated plans to construct public health education exhibits.
On November 16, 1969, the museum came to life as the “Museum of Medical Science” in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Over the next 21 years, museum patrons enjoyed exhibits and outreach programs, helping fulfill the need for quality health information and education. Building a separate institution dedicated to health education had been a dream of the museum's founders for many years. Following a successful $9.5 million capital campaign, the magnificent John P. McGovern Building was built in the heart of Houston's Museum District. The Museum of Health & Medical Science opened its doors on March 16, 1996.
In late 2001, the museum's Board of Trustees recognized the unparalleled contribution of Dr. John P. McGovern to the museum's success. Upon the trustees' unanimous vote, the museum was renamed the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science.
In 2006, the Museum celebrated its tenth anniversary and launched a new brand, including a fresh logo.
On January 27, 2007, the museum opened the Sue Trammell Whitfield Galery, a 6,000 square foot space where traveling exhibits from around the country are displayed.
On June 7, 2008 , the museum opened its first new permanent exhibit gallery since 1996, You: The Exhibit, an interactive exhibit that explores the who, what, when, how and why of you. And just three months later, on September 5, we debuted Houston's first 4D Theater, the McGovern Theater.
August 7, 2009, the museum, in partnership with the Museum of Science, Boston, marked the first time that two science centers collaborated to produce an original, science-based, digital 3D film for a museum-focused audience. Planet You 3D is a journey in the microscopic world of creatures that live and thrive on your skin.
In May 2011, the museum completed an expansion that included an addition of learning centers and an expanded museum Grand Hall, transforming both the physical and experiential footprint of the museum for educational and institutional audiences.
On March 27, 2015, The Health Museum opened the DeBakey Cell Lab, its first permanent exhibit in five years. The DeBakey Cell Lab is a unique science-focused experiences and the only bilingual science lab museum exhibit in the country. Honorably named after the respected and accomplished medical pioneer, Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., this 2,000 sq. ft. exhibit features seven authentic biology-based science experiments developed for visitors ages 7 to adult.
In March 2016 The Health Museum celebrated its 20th anniversary.
The Health Museum is dedicated to becoming an even greater vehicle for families to understand their bodies, take proactive measures to be healthy, live longer and begin to counteract the rapidly rising costs of managing health.