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Macaulay Dental Museum Rededication

By Dr. Gene Atkinson, SCDA Historian

The Macaulay Museum of Dental History at the Medical University of South Carolina was rededicated Thursday, October 12, 2017 after a three year $300,000 renovation. Many alumni, corporations, and individuals contributed funds to help this fantastic project become reality.

In an impressive ceremony at St. Luke’s Chapel on the MUSC campus, many speakers touted the significance of this masterpiece of a museum. Former Interim Dean Patricia Blanton informed the audience that the Macaulay Museum is only one of two dental schools in the nation to house a dental museum.

This rededication took place in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Academy of the History of Dentistry which was holding its annual convention in Charleston at the same time. The Executive Director of the Academy, Dr. David Chernin of Boston, gave the keynote address at the occasion. A large crowd attended this impressive ceremony. Among the speakers were: Dr. Staci Gaffos, an active member of the SCDA, a personal friend of Dr. Macaulay, and a past president of the American Academy of Dental History; Dr. Theresa Gonzales, president of MUSC’s Waring Library Society and one of the individuals spearheading this project; Dr. Lynn Campbell representing the SCDA and a member of the Museum Renovation Committee; former Interim Dean of the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Patricia Blanton; and Susan Hoffius, Curator of the Waring Historical Library and Macaulay Museum of Dental History at MUSC.

The Macaulay Museum evolved from the personal collection of Dr. Neill Macaulay, one of South Carolina’s premier dentists. It includes over 6000 dental artifacts collected by Dr. Macaulay throughout his career, some of which came from his great grandfather, Dr. John Sharp’s collection. Dr. Macaulay was quite a leader in the SCDA during his lifetime. He is the only individual to hold every office in the SCDA. Dr. Macaulay has been considered to be the driving force in establishing the College of Dental Medicine at MUSC. For many years prior to our College of Dental Medicine at MUSC, Dr. Macaulay as the leader of the Southern Regional Education Board, helped place prospective dental students from South Carolina in dental schools across the southeast for their dental education. He did this job for the state of South Carolina for an annual salary of one dollar. Dr. Macaulay became very close to many of these students, checking on them often during their dental school years. As a result these students became known as the “Macaulay Boys.”

Dr. Macaulay donated his extensive collection to MUSC in 1975, and the museum opened on October 11, 1975 with Governor James B. Edwards delivering the keynote address.

During the ceremony, the American Society of the History of Dentistry presented its prestigious award, known as the Hayden Harris award, jointly to Dr. Ted Welsh and Mrs. Susan Hoffius for their dedicated efforts in preserving dental history through the years. Their efforts have been a mainstay in the Macaulay Museum for many years. This award is for the entire United States and is not necessarily given each year.

Attending the rededication ceremony was Judge Alex Macaulay, the son of Dr. Neill Macaulay. He was one of those participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony for this outstanding newly renovated museum named after his father.

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