As the Hot Springs National Park Centennial comes to a close, the final part of the yearlong celebration recently opened at the Ozark Bath House. For the next few months, it is hosting an exhibit revolving around the U.S. Office of Public Health.
“We’re commemorating the 100th anniversary of the partnership between the National Park Service and the United States Public Health Service. … That partnership started at Yellowstone National Park and Hot Springs National Park in 1921,” said Tom Hill, the park’s museum curator.
“The first four superintendents after we were made a national park in 1921 were all Public Health Service officers, and the exhibit is to commemorate their role in having a Public Health Service clinic at the Government Bath House, the fact that the bath house opened in 1921, and the partnership that continues to this day in making national park sites safe,” Hill said.
Hill and other park employees, including park ranger/anniversary coordinator Ashley Waymouth, created the exhibit using artifacts from the park and “components … that are from the Public Health Service,” he said.
Items on display include Public Health Service uniforms, featuring a World War I-era Public Health Service tunic. “U.S. Public Health officers wear the uniform of the United States Navy, since the Public Health Service started as the United States Marine Hospital Service in 1798,” Hill said.