Past Exhibitions :: Help is Here

Saturday, November 20, 2004 - Sunday, September 11, 2005
Exhibition Hall

1939 Pontiac-Superior Ambulance
New York State Museum Collection, H-1985.71.1
Gift of the Adirondack Museum

Exhibition Resources:
Teachers' Guide
Floor Plan

In the 21st century, we expect emergency medical help to come to the aid of the seriously ill or injured, no matter where they are. It has not always been this way. Until the 19th century, emergency departments, even hospitals, did not exist as we know them today. First used in military campaigns, including the Civil War, horse-drawn ambulances began to bring patients to hospitals in New York's cities in the 1860s. In rural areas, first aid and ambulance transport came only with the general use of automobiles. Hospitals and funeral directors operated ambulances in the early 20th century. Independent rescue squads and fire departments began to provide ambulance service in the 1930s and 40s.

Help is Here is an exciting new exhibition tracing the history of emergency medical services, both transport and treatment, in New York. It features 15 historic ambulances, dating from a 1911 horse-drawn ambulance built in Rochester, to a 1987 Medical Coaches Bluestar, one of the last van-based ambulances built in Oneonta and in service until spring 2004. In addition, there will be a sampling of historic medical equipment used in the field, historic photographs and ambulance agency memorabilia.

Presenting sponsor is the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services. Additional support has been provided by Laerdal Medical Corporation, Ten Eyck Group, United New York Ambulance Network, and Upstate Medical University. Media sponsor is EMS Magazine.


Museum Open Tuesday-Sunday: 9:30 am to 5 pm | Carousel Hours: 10 am to 4:30 pm
Office of Cultural Education | New York State Education Department
Information: 518-474-5877 | Contact Us | Image Requests | Terms of Use
Join us on Facebook See us on YouTube See us on Flickr