Wigton Heritage Center
University of Nebraska Medical Center


We strive to provide many ways to experience and learn about history of the health sciences at UNMC and in the state of Nebraska through lectures, author presentations, and events.


Nebraska Science Café presentations


Science Cafés involve a face-to-face conversation with a scientist about current science topics. They are open to everyone (21 and older) and take place in casual settings like pubs and coffeehouses. A science café's casual meeting place, plain language, and inclusive conversation create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for people with no science background. Each meeting is organized around an interesting topic of conversation. A scientist gives a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer period.

Nebraska Science Festival

April 1-30, 2022

The Nebraska Science Festival began in 2013 as an initiative of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which continues to administer the festival with the assistance of several organizations and individuals interested in the advancement of science literacy. It is designed to make science accessible, interactive, relevant and fun for kids and adults alike.


2022 dates coming soon

The annual Invent-a-thon is an educational outreach event for Nebraska high school students. Teams of two to six members per team are invited to compete to address a real-world medical issue by developing a 3D-printed design to solve the problem.

Past Programs

Davis Lecture: Janet Gilsdorf, MD

April 22, 2022

Janet Gilsdorf, MD, will present at the 13th annual Richard B. Davis, MD, PhD, History of Medicine Lectureship.

Dr. Gilsdorf will share stories based on her book, Continual Raving: A History of Meningitis and the People Who Conquered It, of how scientists across the 19th and 20th centuries defeated the deadly brain infection meningitis — not through flawless research, but through a series of serendipitous events, misplaced assumptions, and flawed conclusions. The result shows not just how a disease is vanquished, but how scientific accomplishment can sometimes occur where it is least expected.

The Richard B. Davis, MD, PhD, History of Medicine Lectureship brings national experts to the UNMC campus to discuss the history of medicine, in support of special collections at the McGoogan Library, including rare books and works on the history of medicine. The lectureship is supported through an endowed fund given by the late Richard B. Davis, MD, PhD (1926-2010), faculty member at UNMC from 1969-1994 and professor emeritus of internal medicine at UNMC. Dr. Davis and his wife, Jean, provided support for this lectureship out of his long-standing interest in the history of medicine.

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Author Speaker Series: Mark Darby “Pharaoh’s Midwives”

April 11, 2022

Mark Darby, MSN, RN, APRN, FNP-C, instructor in the College of Nursing, will present at McGoogan Library’s next author reading on his book Pharaoh's Midwives. Darby has been a nurse for almost 40 years and is certified in Family and Mental Health as a nurse practitioner. He is the co-leader of the College of Nursing’s Creative Writing Project at UNMC and has been editor of the Journal of Nurse Jocularity for the past eight years. Darby self-published Pharaoh's Midwives to answer the question: Are the Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1:15 - 21, named Shipporah and Puah, Hebrew or Egyptian, and why does that make a difference in the context of the racial tensions of society today?

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Author Reading with Amy Haddad, PhD, MFA, RN, FAAN

March 30, 2022

Amy Haddad, PhD, MFA, RN, FAAN will be reading from her poetry collection, An Otherwise Healthy Woman. Dr. Haddad is a poet, nurse, and educator at Creighton University where she now holds the rank of Professor Emerita. Her poetry and short stories have been published in the American Journal of Nursing, Janus Head, Journal of Medical Humanities, Touch, Bellevue Literary Review, Pulse, Persimmon Tree, Annals of Internal Medicine, Aji Magazine, DASH, Oberon Poetry Magazine, and the anthologies Between the Heart Beats and Intensive Care: More Poetry and Prose by Nurses from University of Iowa Press, and Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies from Kent State University Press. Her poetry chapbook, The Geography of Kitchens, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. The University of Nebraska Press is publishing her first poetry collection, An Otherwise Healthy Woman, in 2022. She is also an alumna of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Nursing.

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Feed: Infant Feeders as Seen Through Photography

Lindsey Beal
January 25, 2022

How were infants and children historically fed? How were births assisted in the past? Have assistive childbirth and feeding objects and methods changed through the years? Lindsey Beal, a photo-based artist, will share her artwork and research into this history, which includes images of the M. E. Alberts, M.D. infant feeder collection photographed in 2019 at the McGoogan Health Sciences Library. The collection will soon be on display in the Wigton Heritage Center.

This presentation was not recorded.

C’RONA Pandemic Comics

Panelists: Judy Diamond (Professor and Curator, University of Nebraska State Museum and University Libraries), Bob Hall (Comic Writer and Artist), Judi gaiashkibos (Executive Director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs), and St Patrick Reid, PhD (Assistant Professor, UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology)
November 3, 2021

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Why Health Sciences Students Need the Humanities

Dr. Deirdre Cooper-Owens
October 11, 2021

This presentation touches on why humanities programs and education are necessary for students interested in health sciences: for instance, that the various humanities disciplines allow students to study the social, cultural, ethical and historical dimensions of how doctors, patients, and communities understand the lived experience of health and disease; that the humanities engender critical thinking and interdisciplinary approaches: and that subject covered in the humanities, such as aspects of history and race, and how that legacy of harm to underrepresented groups results in continued health disparities today, helps expand critical health science students critical thinking and compassionate learning.

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Between Grit to Grace: The Art of Being Feminine and Formidable

Dr. Sasha Shillcut
September 20, 2021

Women need to know it’s okay to be kind and assertive. Between Grit and Grace will show you that success comes when you are comfortable living in the space between grit and grace—grit meaning being resilient and taking charge of your life (socially-acceptable masculine attributes), and grace meaning showing others mercy (socially-acceptable feminine trait). Using real-life stories—ranging from women in law and medicine to women in education—Dr. Shillcut explains how women can be feminine and formidable. Leadership and lipstick are not mutually exclusive. You’ll realize you can be bossy and caring, fearless and vulnerable, relentless and forgiving, smart and humble—and make it to the top.

Sasha Shillcutt, MD, is a wife, mother, award-winning physician, clinical scientist, national educator, writer, and speaker. A board-certified cardiac anesthesiologist and tenured associate professor, she received a bachelors’ degree in biology from William Jewell College, and her MD degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After finishing a residency in anesthesiology during which she served as chief resident, she completed an executive fellowship in perioperative echocardiography at the University of Utah Medical Center. She has published close to 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles in professional journals including the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association and contributed chapters to four books. In 2016, Sasha was awarded the national American Medical Association’s Women Physician’s Inspiring Physician Award by her peers.

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Quackery Through the Ages

Dr. Lydia Kang
April 29, 2021

Lobotomies. Bloodletting. Leeches. Arsenic. The usage of dubiously helpful and occasionally harmful treatments have been a mainstay of medical care since the beginning of recorded history. In many cases, these were done with the hope of a true cure, but often they were done in the guise of beneficence in order to financially benefit the so-called "snake-oil salesman." In this installment of the McGoogan Library Speaker Series, UNMC's Lydia Kang, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine, discusses the historical breadth of how medical treatments -- both well-intentioned and not -- have evolved over time, and why they are still so stubbornly alive today.

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Finding Resilience in Healthcare Through Inspiration

Dr. Donny W. Suh
February 16, 2021

Drawing from stories in his autobiography, "Catching A Star: My Story of Hope," Dr. Suh will share his journey of struggle, adaptation and accomplishment, as well as the hope he gains by interacting with patients and participating in medical missions around the world.

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