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The Adler Museum of Medicine was founded in 1962 and was situated in the grounds of the South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg. It is now housed at the University of the Witwatersrand's Medical School Campus in Parktown, Johannesburg.

Cyril (d. 1988) and Esther Adler (d. 1982), founders of the Adler Museum of Medicine.

Cyril (d. 1988) and Esther Adler (d. 1982), founders of the Adler Museum of Medicine.

The Museum reports to a Board of Control appointed by the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

In June 1974 the Museum's co-founders, Drs Cyril and Esther Adler, presented the Museum to the University of the Witwatersrand which named it the Adler Museum as a token of the esteem in which the founders were held by the University.

In addition, the University bestowed the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) upon Dr Adler and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) upon Mrs Esther Adler. Until Esther Adler's death in 1982 she was the Museum's Honorary Curator while Cyril Adler acted as Honorary Director of the Museum. From 1982 Dr Cyril Adler was appointed by the University as Director/Curator of the Adler Museum, a post he held until his death in 1988. 




  • 1962:The Museum of the History of Medicine, brainchild of Dr Cyril Adler, was formally inaugurated at a public lecture held in the Great Hall of the University of the Witwatersrand in April. The inaugural address was delivered by Major-General AJ Orenstein. The Museum s role was to collect and preserve for posterity all material that would illustrate the history of medicine in general and of South Africa in particular.
  • 1974: In June 1974, the Museum was officially handed over to the University of the Witwatersrand and its name was changed to the Adler Museum of Medicine of the History of Medicine. Dr and Mrs Adler were further honored by the University when it conferred on them the honorary degrees degrees of LLD and PhD respectively, in recognition of their services to students, researchers and the public.
  • 1988: The Museum's first home was a flat belonging to the University, but it did not take long for Cyril to fill the space. Fortunately the South African Institute of Medical Research (SAIMR), offered Cyril the ground floor of the Director's House, around which Cyril added many outbuildings. Shortly after his death the Museum took over the entire house.
  • 1999: The name was shortened to Adler Museum of Medicine.
  • 2002: The Museum moved to the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, in Parktown, Johannesburg.