Exhibition in the Making

Follow along as the John Wornall House Museum builds an exhibition exploring how John Wornall’s home became a field hospital for both the Union and Confederate wounded. “Farmstead to Field Hospital: A Family in the Crossfire of War and the Making of Modern-Day Medicine,” will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Westport. It will be on display between September 26 and November 9, 2014.

This exhibition will be presented by The Wornall/Majors House Museums in partnership with the Metropolitan Medical Society of Greater Kansas City, the Clendening History of Medicine Museum, University of Kansas Medical Center, and the Kansas City Public Library.


From Sword to Plowshare: The .44 Caliber Lead Ball Found at Wornall House

Holding the .44 caliber lead ball in the palm of one’s hand and feeling its 11.8 gram heft imbues the milky-colored solid shot with an eerie feeling when considering the purpose of its creation. This Civil War-era lead ball, found in the summer of 2013 by archeologist Doug Shaver near the front porch of the John Wornall House in Kansas City, Missouri, was manufactured with malice, and its intent was for the murder of humans and animals, specifically horses. Shaver’s detailed report inevitably raised as many questions as it answered. This particular lead ball is unfired.

Chloroform: Infinite Blessing and Bitter Memories

After the Battle of Westport, the nostrils of 9-year-old Frank Wornall must have been filled with the smell of chloroform as he hauled water and ripped cloth into strips to use as bandages for wounded soldiers. Surgeons operating in tents pitched in the front lawn rendered wounded soldiers into unconsciousness with chloroform from tin flasks such as the one featured in the exhibit.

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