Institute of Dental History and Craniofacial Study

Museum Collections

The Institute of Dental History and Craniofacial Study maintains five collections to support the preservation and study of dental history, craniofacial biology and evolution.

instruments in caseA.W. Ward Museum of Dentistry Collection

The Ward Museum was founded in 1974 in honor of Abraham Wesley Ward, a pioneer of surgical periodontics and a 1902 graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The museum accepts documents and preserves historical and modern artifacts related to the dental profession. The collection includes dental furniture, equipment, products, books, photographs, films and documents from the mid-1700s to recent times. Donated items are catalogued, with description and donor information maintained in an EmbARK database. Artifacts are on display in the School of Dentistry and at the Health Sciences Library. To promote community outreach, the IDHCS maintains an 1860s dentist's office at the Columbia State Historic Park in Columbia, California, and a circa-1900 dental operatory at the Woodside Store in Woodside, California.

Dental students are encouraged to volunteer in helping the curator catalog, inventory and arrange the Ward Museum collection.

Spencer R. Atkinson Library of Applied Anatomy Collection

This invaluable, world-renowned research and teaching resource consists of more than 1,500 human crania collected by orthodontist Spencer R. Atkinson, primarily from autopsies and biological warehouses. Read more >>

College of Physicians and Surgeons Historical Society Collection

The College of Physicians and Surgeons Historical Society collection houses historical documents and artifacts from the College of Physicians and Surgeons (the forerunner of University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry). This collection includes a complete set of CHIPS yearbook volumes, and a sampling of Contact Point issues, photographs, lecture notes, textbooks, grade cards and exams, licenses, commencement programs, postgraduate correspondence and alumni events, dating from the late 1800s onwards.

Alumni are urged to contribute towards the institute's goal of maintaining a "comprehensive" chronicle of P&S and its students by donating photos, documents and other materials  emanating from their dental school days. Copies of these items are also accepted. As a repository for the school's history, this archive is accessible by appointment to historians, donors, alumni and the families of alumni. The curator is available to respond to specific inquiries by phone or email.

P&S Comparative Anatomy Collection

The P&S Comparative Anatomy collection features animal skulls prepared by students in comparative odontology classes at the College of Physicians and Surgeons during the mid-1900s. This collection, consisting of the skulls of a variety of fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals,  has served as the basis for important exhibits, research projects and educational outreach programs on dental anatomy, function, and evolution.

In hands-on Selectives taught at the IDHCS, skulls from this collection are used to demonstrate the evolutionary patterns found among vertebrates in their tooth structure, tooth attachment, tooth replacement and cusp composition. The amazing diversity in tooth number, tooth shape, cusp wear pattern and jaw mechanics is illustrated and discussed in relation to dietary adaptation. In addition, students investigate specimens from the Order Primates with special emphasis placed on those cranial and dental similarities and differences recognizable among the various species, and, especially, between apes and humans.

James A. Campbell Jr. Dental Radiology Collection

Documenting the work of Dr. James A. Campbell, Jr., this unique collection includes hundreds of glassplate X-rays featuring a variety of cases, and early and modern X-ray tubes and equipment.


Dr. Dorothy Dechant, Museum Curator
Institute of Dental History and Craniofacial Study
University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
155 Fifth Street, Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103