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Special Exhibits

Temporary exhibits in the Great Room showcase objects from the Fort's permanent collection. They provide insights into the daily lives of the Fort's historical residents and into the workings of the Hudson's Bay Company, of which the Fort was part. All exhibits include hands-on activities for visitors of all ages.

Dr. Tolmie, the Physician

November 21, 2015 – April 30, 2016

“Doctor Tolmie arrived …to restore us to health” -- Journal of Occurrences, May 27, 1837

William Fraser Tolmie, the manager of Fort Nisqually in the 1840s and 1850s, was a Glasgow-trained surgeon. The Hudson's Bay Company contracted with the young doctor in 1832 to fill a need for medical professionals in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Tolmie, the Physician provides a brief tour of Tolmie's medical studies, including an internship in a cholera hospital, and then follows him as he arrives in the Pacific Northwest, just as malaria is delivering death to local Native Americans. The exhibit describes his work through the 1850s as he treats a variety of injuries, illnesses, and disease.

The exhibit is an interesting journey through the quirks of medical education in Scotland, the many inventive ways of purging a patient, and the devastating effects of disease -- both in Scotland and the Pacific Northwest -- during the early 1800s.

The display includes some of the tools and instruments of a 19th century doctor from the Fort's collection and from a private collection.

For young visitors, there will be a variety of hands on activities including a 3-D anatomy puzzle.

Scarificator with bleeding cups