Vials of polio vaccine, 1954
Contemporary medical advances have always been of interest to the curators of the Smithsonian's medical collections. These vials of poliomyelitis vaccine were produced for the first national trials in 1954. On April 12, 1955, the new vaccine was declared safe and effective, and its developer, Dr. Jonas E. Salk, became an international hero. Twelve vials of the trial polio vaccine were donated to the Smithsonian between 1956 and 1958 by the National Infantile Paralysis Foundation and the laboratories that manufactured the vaccine.